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, emprise, experience, gest (or geste), 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

But despite his goalscoring exploits, Liverpool still finished 25 points behind Premier League winners Manchester City, crashed out of the FA Cup fourth round to relegated West Brom and lost to Leicester City in the League Cup third round. Matias Grez, CNN, "Mo Salah wins sixth individual award in an incredible season," 14 May 2018 Cycling clubs made for the countryside on runs and centuries so popular that newspapers like the New York Times regularly reported on their exploits and published route suggestions. Eben Weiss, Outside Online, "Are We Living in the Golden Age of Cycling?," 17 Apr. 2018 Victor van der Veen, a Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam professor who helped devise both Drammer and RAMpage exploits, wrote in an email. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "New RAMpage exploit revives Rowhammer attack to root Android devices," 2 July 2018 However, because these cracks rely on an exploit, not a feature enabled by Apple for law-enforcement or other purposes, it could be used for criminal purposes as well. Glenn Fleishman, Fortune, "Apple Blocks Hack That Feds and Police Use to Crack iPhones," 13 June 2018 Intel recently finished its barrage of CPU microcode updates designed to combat the nasty Spectre variant 2 exploit, and today, AMD revealed its plans to protect PCs against the flaw. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "AMD rolls out CPU firmware and Windows 10 patches to protect against Spectre exploits," 10 Apr. 2018 As for Strinic, Halilovic's compatriot is currently away at the World Cup in Russia, and will link up with his new side when the nation's exploits at the tournament are over. SI.com, "Milan Reportedly Snap Up Croatian Starlet Alen Halilovic From German Outfit Hamburg," 3 July 2018 Elastigirl, voiced by Holly Hunter Photo: Disney?Pixar Those of us who hoped for a bold new fix on the family and its exploits may be disappointed, but shouldn’t be surprised. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Incredibles 2’ Review: Settling for Less," 14 June 2018 In addition to his baseball exploits, Fisher also plays a key defensive role — safetyt — for the school’s football team. Andrew Higginbottom, BostonGlobe.com, "Recognizing excellence on and off the field," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

More often, though, successful politicians exploit changes in social attitudes that are already happening, rather than causing them by decree. The Economist, "Fork in the roadShould the party move to the left or to the centre?," 12 July 2018 Instead, Amazon’s print divisions have largely exploited inefficiencies, publishing books (like works in translation) that are neglected by the large New York publishing houses. Audible’s success has begun to open that up. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Amazon’s Audiobook Boom," 2 July 2018 But along the way, many people were hurt or exploited, especially women and black Americans. Sarah Mupo, STAT, "The 39 best health and science books to read this summer," 25 June 2018 Speed running is a varied field, with some players happily exploiting glitches — mistakes in the game's code — while others play without. Channing King, Indianapolis Star, "Summer Games Done Quick marathon starts Sunday," 23 June 2018 UC San Diego will exploit its location on the California coast. Gary Robbins, sandiegouniontribune.com, "UC San Diego begins building largest complex in campus history," 17 June 2018 Game studios notoriously exploit employees’ creative passion by using it to justify long hours and stressful work environments, to the point where studios brag about putting developers through grueling crunch cycles. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Joseph Gordon-Levitt is defending a controversial plan to crowdsource Beyond Good and Evil 2 art," 14 June 2018 According to interviews with 35 staffers, respected men at NBC, such as former Today host Matt Lauer, exploited their power and engaged in relationships with female subordinates — some of which were nonconsensual. Amanda Arnold, The Cut, "Two Former NBC News Employees Accuse Tom Brokaw of Sexual Misconduct," 26 Apr. 2018 The issue here is that the people whose data is being bought may not have consented to being exploited in this way. David Meyer, Fortune, "Facebook Is Getting Its First Big Fine Over the Cambridge Analytica Scandal," 11 July 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

10 Nov 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).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Dictionary Devil

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!