ex·​ploi·​ta·​tion | \ˌek-ˌsplȯi-ˈtā-shən \

Definition of exploitation 

: an act or instance of exploiting exploitation of natural resources exploitation of immigrant laborers clever exploitation of the system

Examples of exploitation in a Sentence

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Omari Hardwick’s costuming recalls Shaft (1971) and Coffy (1973), a kind of literal pun on blaxploitation movie history and black exploitation in the workplace. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Sorry to Bother You Is a Brilliant Black Comedy About Race, Labor, and Magic," 29 June 2018 An ample reward—something trivial amounts to exploitation. Amy Dockser Marcus, WSJ, "How to Provide Better Incentives to Organ Donors," 24 June 2018 Thirty-nine and the District of Columbia addressed financial exploitation of the elderly in last year's legislative sessions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nick Leiber, ajc, "How criminals steal $37 billion a year from America's elderly," 5 May 2018 Her character Malloy understands that homeless people are vulnerable to exploitation by those who would do them harm. Nancy Lord, Anchorage Daily News, "In new mystery novel set in Anchorage, a killer in the homeless camp," 10 Mar. 2018 On the surface, the Facebook scandal is about the exploitation of personal data. Haley Sweetland Edwards, Time, "You're Addicted to Your Smartphone. This Company Thinks It Can Change That," 13 Apr. 2018 Nature as a bountiful resource for commercial exploitation is the painting’s subject, underscored by a mountain that belongs to both nature and civilization and by a tree branch artfully composed by a stylish painter. Christopher Knight, latimes.com, "Grafton Tyler Brown's California scenes at Pasadena museum's final show," 30 June 2018 In many ways, Trump inherited a political environment ripe for exploitation after two decades of turmoil. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "America should be more at ease than this," 2 June 2018 Guidelines could ensure these workers basic labor protections like health insurance, assurances against employer exploitation, and greater care for the psychological harm that can be involved. Tarleton Gillespie, WIRED, "How Social Networks Set the Limits of What We Can Say Online," 26 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exploitation.' 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 exploitation

1795, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

12 Nov 2018

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The first known use of exploitation was in 1795

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Comments on exploitation

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


obstinately defiant of authority

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