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

Definition of exploit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: deed, act especially : a notable or heroic act


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 exploitability (audio) \ noun
exploitable \ ik-​ˈsplȯi-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce exploitable (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


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Whether Pepe is in line for his Gunners debut is not yet known, with the player having had an extended holiday following his country's exploits in the African Cup of Nations, and concerns remaining over his match fitness. SI.com, "Nicolas Pepe's Former Coach Reveals Ivorian's Original Position Ahead of Premier League Debut," 11 Aug. 2019 The film will be narrated by Jamie Foxx and chronicle Rodman’s Hall of Fame career and infamous exploits on and off the court. Los Angeles Times, "Column: U.S. women’s soccer needs investment in domestic league," 10 Aug. 2019 The exploit could be used for nefarious purposes including altering an invoice to trick a customer into paying another account or altering faces in a photo, according to Symantec's research. Alyssa Newcomb, Fortune, "WhatsApp Security Flaw Could Let Hackers Alter Photos, Videos, and Audio Messages," 15 July 2019 Over the years, Meurer, who is now a trustee of the Perot Trust, endured many Ross exploits. Cheryl Hall, Dallas News, "Remembering Ross Perot: Longtime friend Tom Meurer strikes back with a Norman Rockwell joke," 12 July 2019 Drews’ exploits followed those of Robbie Hummel, who led the United States to its first 3x3 World Cup championship at Amsterdam, The Netherlands. David Woods, Indianapolis Star, "Memo to Tokyo Olympics: Purdue Boilermakers are on their way," 9 July 2019 Williamson’s athletic exploits are well-chronicled. Nick Moyle, ExpressNews.com, "Texas product Jaxson Hayes will be key part of new-look Pelicans," 26 June 2019 Those star pupils, however, can only do so much to accessorize the cinematic equivalent of a little black dress, where the reduced-to-an-initial exploits of H and M add up to something closer to a B-. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Men in Black' can't catch lightning despite 'Thor' duo," 12 June 2019 Microsoft and a chorus of security professionals have warned of the potential for exploits to sow worldwide disruptions. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Chances of destructive BlueKeep exploit rise with new explainer posted online," 22 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The event organizers were exploiting young adherents of Objectivism as any number of Rand’s fictional mouthpieces treated the contemptible untermenschen doomed to toil anonymously in the shadows of history’s Great Men. Alexander Sammon, The New Republic, "The Last of the Ayn Rand Acolytes," 14 Aug. 2019 The story revealed not only how David Williams exploited weaknesses at each step, but how slowly the insurers responded to his ongoing fraud. Marshall Allen, ProPublica, "Senators Call for Closing “Loopholes” That Make Health Care Fraud Easy," 14 Aug. 2019 The story revealed not only how David Williams exploited weaknesses at each step, but also that the insurers were extremely slow in responding to his ongoing fraud. Marshall Allen, Vox, "Senators call for closing “loopholes” that make health care fraud easy," 14 Aug. 2019 Microsoft today warned Windows users of seven new vulnerabilities in Windows that, like BlueKeep, can be exploited via RDP, a tool that lets administrators connect to other computers in a network. Andy Greenberg, WIRED, "DejaBlue: New BlueKeep-Style Bugs Mean You Need to Update Windows Now," 13 Aug. 2019 In doing so, Russia exploited a key strength of our democracy — free and open debate. Cat Zakrzewski, Washington Post, "The Technology 202: Senators concerned Epstein conspiracy theories play into Russia's hands," 13 Aug. 2019 China is also exploiting America’s special trading relationship with Hong Kong to circumvent U.S. export controls, customs duties, and sanctions, as well as to conduct influence and espionage operations. Kristina Olney, National Review, "America Must Prevent Another Tiananmen Square and Stand for a Free Hong Kong," 12 Aug. 2019 And that consortium also often exploits and encourages the degradation of language. Deborah Treisman, The New Yorker, "George Saunders on the Induced Bafflement of Fiction," 12 Aug. 2019 So these employers are exploiting undocumented workers. NBC News, "Meet the Press - August 11, 2019," 11 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for exploit

Last Updated

18 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for exploit

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

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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 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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on exploit

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with exploit

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for exploit

Spanish Central: Translation of exploit

Nglish: Translation of exploit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exploit for Arabic Speakers

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 shake or wave menacingly

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