ex·ploit | \ ˈek-ˌsplȯit , ik-ˈsplȯit \

Definition of exploit 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: deed, act especially : a notable or heroic act


ex·ploit | \ ik-ˈsplȯit , ˈek-ˌsplȯit \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from exploit


exploitability \ik-ˌsploi-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē \ noun
exploitable \ik-ˈsplȯi-tə-bəl \ adjective
exploiter noun

Synonyms for exploit

Synonyms: Noun

adventure, experience, happening, time

Synonyms: Verb

manipulate, play (upon)

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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


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


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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The pair’s latest exploit was to conquer Italy's highest climbing wall. Andrew Dansby, Houston Chronicle, "Peter Hook on a life in Joy Division, New Order and the Light," 23 May 2018 Now, poachers covet the meat, which is illegally and surreptitiously chopped, fried, and plated at private restaurants, primarily for tourists seeking a brag-worthy culinary exploit. Shanna Baker, Smithsonian, "The Quest to Preserve the Last of Castro’s Crocodiles," 21 June 2018 But as a four-year-old, Marc-André knew the height of Mount Everest to the foot and could recite the exploits of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay the way some kids reel off dinosaur names. Matt Skenazy, Outside Online, "The Last Days of Marc-André Leclerc," 19 June 2018 That’s a guilty pleasure, to follow the exploits of the rich and famous. Adam Rathe, Town & Country, "The Most Exciting Part of Starring in Succession," 4 June 2018 Miramax revisited the glitterball era in 1998 with 54, a splashy, fictional tale about the exploits of a young Jersey gent (Ryan Phillippe) tending bar at Manhattan’s iconic Studio 54. Robbie Daw, Billboard, "Ultra Naté, Amber and Jocelyn Enriquez on Their 1998 Stars on 54 Collaboration 'If You Could Read My Mind'," 31 May 2018 Xiao and Krebs tested the exploit on several cell phone users, including one in Canada. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "A Security Flaw in a Free Web Service Let Anyone Anonymously Track U.S. Cell Phones," 19 May 2018 The benefits to an attacker using cyber exploits are potentially spectacular. The Economist, "Not so MADWhy nuclear stability is under threat," 25 Jan. 2018 Knowing these tactics, Microsoft created Windows 10 with completely new code, making many of the Windows 7 specific exploits harmless to its users. Ken Colburn, azcentral, "Still running Windows 7? Probably not for much longer; Here's what you need to know," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Her comments confirm many people's worst suspicions about the event-- that she was being exploited for viral fame unknowingly, and unwillingly, to tragic ends. Taylor Lorenz, The Atlantic, "Unidentified Plane Bae Woman's Statement Confirms the Worst," 13 July 2018 The complaints reflected the degree to which Mr. Trump is coming into the summit meeting focused on his anger with NATO and his conviction that the alliance exploits American largess to the detriment of the United States. New York Times, "As Trump Criticizes NATO, E.U. Leader Warns: You ‘Won’t Have a Better Ally’," 10 July 2018 Coming after a series of terrorist attacks in France by Islamist radicals, the crash spurred worries that one of them had exploited a security flaw at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris and slipped a bomb on the plane. Andy Pasztor, WSJ, "French Investigators, Countering Egypt, Say Fire Likely Caused EgyptAir Crash," 7 July 2018 Also tied to this global withdrawal is his weakening of the Atlantic alliance, evidenced by his constant passive-aggressive denigration of NATO and accusations that traditional allies are exploiting the United States. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "President Trump sees immigration as a defense issue.," 22 June 2018 President Donald Trump's administration, however, believes most of the families arriving at the southern border are exploiting the nation's asylum laws by using their children as shields against being quickly sent back to their home countries. Daniel González, azcentral, "Trump administration is separating migrant parents from children. What you need to know," 15 June 2018 An ongoing investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting has found that many programs exploit this arrangement, providing few actual services while turning participants into indentured servants. Amy Julia Harris And Shoshana Walter, charlotteobserver, "Drug users got exploited. Disabled patients got hurt. One woman benefited from it all. | Charlotte Observer," 21 May 2018 The whole script offers opportunities for delight that Posner and Teller exploited to the fullest. Tony Adler, Chicago Reader, "Aaron Posner and Teller’s Macbeth is no Tempest," 9 May 2018 The group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington charged last year that Riter exploits loopholes in America’s campaign finance system and stretches the law to spend money on politics while keeping donors secret. Maureen Groppe, Indianapolis Star, "Group with mostly anonymous donors sent mailings supporting Rokita, attacking Braun and Messer," 30 Apr. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about exploit

Statistics for exploit

Last Updated

1 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for exploit

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for exploit



English Language Learners Definition of exploit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an exciting act or action



English Language Learners Definition of exploit (Entry 2 of 2)

: to get value or use from (something)

: to use (someone or something) in a way that helps you unfairly


ex·ploit | \ ˈek-ˌsplȯit \

Kids Definition of exploit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an exciting or daring act


ex·ploit | \ ik-ˈsplȯit \
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.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on exploit

What made you want to look up exploit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the setting in which something occurs

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!