ex·​ploit | \ ˈek-ˌsplȯit How to pronounce exploit (audio) , ik-ˈsplȯit How to pronounce exploit (audio) \
plural exploits

Essential Meaning of exploit

: an exciting act or action

Full Definition of exploit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: deed, act especially : a notable, memorable, or heroic act a daring exploit a book about his youthful exploits I took out the list of Professor Challenger's exploits, and I read it over under the electric lamp. — Arthur Conan Doyle About midnight the gang returned, with various articles of plunder, and talked over their exploits— Sir Walter Scott It used to be rare for C.I.A. employees to recount their exploits, or grievances, in print. — Alex Berenson


ex·​ploit | \ ik-ˈsplȯit How to pronounce exploit (audio) , ˈek-ˌsplȯit How to pronounce exploit (audio) \
exploited; exploiting; exploits

Definition of exploit (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to make productive use of : utilize exploiting your talents exploit your opponent's weakness
2 : to make use of meanly or unfairly for one's own advantage exploiting migrant farm workers

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Other Words from exploit


exploitability \ ik-​ˌsploi-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce exploit (audio) \ noun
exploitable \ ik-​ˈsplȯi-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce exploit (audio) \ adjective
exploiter noun

Choose the Right Synonym for exploit


feat, exploit, achievement mean a remarkable deed. feat implies strength or dexterity or daring. an acrobatic feat exploit suggests an adventurous or heroic act. his exploits as a spy achievement implies hard-won success in the face of difficulty or opposition. her achievements as a chemist

Examples of exploit in a Sentence

Noun the fanciful exploits of the giant lumberjack Paul Bunyan once famed as an actor, John Wilkes Booth is now remembered for a single exploit, his assassination of Lincoln Verb He has never fully exploited his talents. Top athletes are able to exploit their opponents' weaknesses. She said the tragedy had been exploited by the media.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The exploit itself can easily infect iPhones, iPads, Macs, and even Apple Watches. Yoni Heisler, BGR, 29 Sep. 2021 Facebook's WhatsApp was also allegedly targeted by an NSO zero-click exploit. CBS News, 15 Sep. 2021 Researchers at Citizen Lab found the new exploit from NSO Group’s Pegasus surveillance tool targeting iPhones and other Apple devices through iMessage. Washington Post, 14 Sep. 2021 WhatsApp was also allegedly targeted by an NSO zero-click exploit. Frank Bajak, chicagotribune.com, 14 Sep. 2021 On Wednesday, independent security researcher Nguyen Jang uploaded one such exploit on the code repository platform Github. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, 13 Mar. 2021 Apple says the first two issues may be actively exploited, and an exploit for the third exists in the wild. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 23 Sep. 2021 The same kind of exploit for Google’s Android operating system goes for $2.5 million. Washington Post, 9 Sep. 2021 An architectural exploit which took two years to be completed. Cécilia Pelloux, Forbes, 3 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The administration’s regulators also take the position that today’s tech Goliaths exploit their dominance to quash rivals. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 6 Oct. 2021 The bill requires the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to launch a program that will warn organizations of vulnerabilities that ransomware actors exploit. Geneva Sands, CNN, 28 Sep. 2021 This created a loophole that contractors with City Hall connections could exploit by splitting a big contract into many smaller ones, each under $1,000. BostonGlobe.com, 22 Sep. 2021 But both operating a platform and marketing their own goods and services on it creates a conflict of interest that big tech companies can exploit to further solidify their dominance, thwart competition and stifle innovation. Mikael Berner, Forbes, 13 Sep. 2021 The first is that Islamist extremists will exploit ungoverned spaces, or spaces governed by kindred spirits in the Muslim world. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 20 Aug. 2021 The bulletin said that racially or ethnically motivated extremists will exploit the reintroduction of COVID-19 variants as a means to carry out attacks because of reimplemented pandemic restrictions. Luke Barr, ABC News, 14 Aug. 2021 Remember, those who are driving vaccine hesitancy will exploit even the smallest mistake or misstatement. Rex Huppke, chicagotribune.com, 2 Aug. 2021 The Netanyahu era showed that strategic politicians can exploit Israel’s constitutional vacuum to maintain power well beyond their popular mandate. Brendan Szendro, The Conversation, 16 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exploit.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of exploit


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1795, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for exploit


Middle English espleit, expleit, exploit furtherance, outcome, from Anglo-French, from Latin explicitum, neuter of explicitus, past participle

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The first known use of exploit was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

11 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Exploit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exploit. Accessed 22 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for exploit


ex·​ploit | \ ˈek-ˌsplȯit How to pronounce exploit (audio) \

Kids Definition of exploit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an exciting or daring act


ex·​ploit | \ ik-ˈsplȯit How to pronounce exploit (audio) \
exploited; exploiting

Kids Definition of exploit (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to get the value or use out of exploit an opportunity
2 : to take unfair advantage of He had a reputation for exploiting his workers.

More from Merriam-Webster on exploit

Nglish: Translation of exploit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exploit for Arabic Speakers


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