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

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Other Words from exploit


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

Brumley said the exploit was written in x64 assembly code that runs locally on a vulnerable computer. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Intel CPUs fall to new hyperthreading exploit that pilfers crypto keys," 2 Nov. 2018 The exploit provides access to all contact information on an iPhone, and involves activating a FaceTime call and accessing the new group FaceTime feature to see contact information without a passcode. Tom Warren, The Verge, "iOS 12.1 exploit bypasses the lockscreen for access to contacts," 1 Nov. 2018 The unconventional beauty brand founder’s exploits have been followed rabidly by those both interested in incredibly affordable skin care and those who just love messy gossip. Cheryl Wischhover, Vox, "Deciem’s Brandon Truaxe: the world’s most controversial beauty CEO, explained," 9 Oct. 2018 In the following years, dark web sites have hosted video tutorials and tools for exploits, according to the report. Brooke Crothers, Fox News, "DHS warns companies targeted on dark web," 27 July 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Facebook is already facing immense fallout from revelations this morning that a hacker exploited a security flaw in a popular feature of the social network to steal account credentials of as many as 50 million users. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Facebook faces class-action lawsuit over massive new hack," 28 Sep. 2018 Maybe the most troubling part of all this is that the Russians simply exploited our own corrupt system. Sean Illing, Vox, "Trump’s ties to the Russian mafia go back 3 decades," 12 Sep. 2018 Fair Trade Emphasizes sustainable farming methods, support for local communities’ economic development, and safe and equitable conditions—including fair wages—to ensure that workers and local producers in the developing world are not exploited. Lindsay Talbot, Marie Claire, "Your Everything Guide to a Sustainable Closet," 19 July 2018 Trump and Sessions insisted that people exploit the system, even traveling with children to ensure they aren't jailed and slipping away before their court dates. Anne Flaherty, Anchorage Daily News, "The immigration crisis: How we got here and what’s next," 19 June 2018 Still, the real scene stealer here is Waller-Bridge's L3, whose crusade to liberate her kind is both laugh out loud funny, and a sobering injection of woke 2018 reality that reminds us that even the good guys exploit their subordinates. refinery29.com, "Solo: A Star Wars Story," 15 May 2018 Allegations are that Pruitt exploited his position to get personal perks, such as flying first class and multiple overseas trips on the taxpayer's dime, according to interviews with CNN and details made public by members of Congress. Sara Ganim, Gregory Wallace And Mallory Thompson, CNN, "Pruitt's problematic security had a playbook," 4 May 2018 Graphene is heavily hyped these days, but the MIT researchers were able to exploit an unusual quality: Its brittle nature. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "It Just Got Easier to Make Hordes of Blood Cell-Sized Robots All at Once," 23 Oct. 2018 They were run from Bangladesh, a CNN investigation has found — and they were designed to exploit Americans’ interest in politics and protests in order to sell t-shirts. Casey Newton, The Verge, "A new kind of dark money on Facebook is influencing elections," 18 Oct. 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.

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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

24 Nov 2018

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 \

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.

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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 make faulty or ineffective

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