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

Despite his minor league exploits, the Dodgers weren’t planning on using him regularly until next season. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Gavin Lux lives up to the hype in his opening act with the Dodgers," 2 Sep. 2019 What is necessary to avoid detection of this exploit was outside the scope of my testing. Cameron Faulkner, The Verge, "SimpliSafe’s home security system can be compromised by a $2 wireless emitter," 7 Aug. 2019 But there are sure to be more stories around the barber shop about Donaven and his exploits on the football field. Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star, "Lawrence North QB Donaven McCulley has the look of a star in the making," 18 July 2019 From this stock and their exploits sprang our national myth of the frontiersman-patriot. John Daniel Davidson, National Review, "Founders of the Frontier: David McCullough Discovers Ohio’s Puritan Pioneers," 11 July 2019 Lorenzen was a role model for so many younger Bluebirds, for his off-field example just as much as his on-field exploits. Adam Turer, Cincinnati.com, "How Kentucky, Highlands football hero Jared Lorenzen inspired players and fans," 10 July 2019 Along the way, his exploits touched Hollywood, the Southland's most notorious gangs — and even the Los Angeles Times. latimes.com, "Today: Trump’s Envoy of Discord in Israel," 9 July 2019 Thanks to this latest exploit, evolutionary biologist Catherine La Farge arrived centuries later at Teardrop's melting edge to find the tuft of the species Aulacomnium turgidum finally free from its icy entombment. Daniel Ackerman, Anchorage Daily News, "Ancient life awakens amid thawing ice caps and permafrost," 8 July 2019 Reaching the finals against fellow rookie Pete Alonso of the New York Mets, Guerrero simply ran out of gas following his early-round exploits as Alonso won the title 23-22. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, "Vladimir Guerrero Jr. steals the show at All-Star Home Run Derby," 8 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Many others were exploiting the chicken sandwich craze to partake in the pathetic practice of demeaning working-class Black people. Michael Arceneaux, Essence, "Let Black People Eat Their Chicken Sandwiches In Peace," 30 Aug. 2019 Within ethnic studies, scholars are often very critical of the system of capitalism as research has shown that Native people and people of color are disproportionately exploited within the system. Dustin Gardiner, SFChronicle.com, "Complaints of biased curriculum may sideline California’s ethnic studies push," 21 Aug. 2019 The Tate-LaBianca murders shifted how some Americans viewed the counterculture that Manson had exploited to attract troubled young people to his desert commune. Marisa Iati, chicagotribune.com, "Actress Sharon Tate was young, beautiful and pregnant. Then Charles Manson’s ‘family’ arrived.," 10 Aug. 2019 Fu says that if this were the case, the sculptors or the people who commissioned them may have exploited the magnetic properties to reinforce political control over the population. Joshua Rapp Learn, Smithsonian, "Mesoamerican Sculptures Reveal Early Knowledge of Magnetism," 6 Aug. 2019 The move comes after a ProPublica Illinois investigation published this week revealed that dozens of families had exploited a loophole in state law to get financial aid. Duaa Eldeib, ProPublica, "Illinois Lawmakers Call Hearing to “Demand Answers” and Find Ways to Close a Loophole in College Financial Aid Scandal," 2 Aug. 2019 The tech company went on to say that there’s no evidence the vulnerability was ever exploited, and that it was made aware of the bug through its portal that allows users to report security issues. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "Apple Watch eavesdropping vulnerability pushes tech giant to disable Walkie-Talkie app," 11 July 2019 Our demand for a new political story every day was precisely the condition that Trump so cannily exploited. Christopher Beha, Harper's magazine, "Winning the Peace," 10 May 2019 Wacker said he was particularly concerned that Sandler exploited a teen investor to lure investors. Kim Chandler, The Seattle Times, "Man who took Alabama town for $1.9M sentenced to 5 years," 26 Mar. 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

15 Sep 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).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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