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

In the 1920s, the South Boston Ladies SC competed at Columbus Park, though there is little documentation of the team’s exploits, according to Richard Johnson, curator of the New England Sports Museum. Frank Dell’apa, BostonGlobe.com, "DaMarcus Beasley: Revolution’s Bruce Arena ‘one of the best coaches, period’," 2 July 2019 Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner earned the adoration of a fan base through their postseason exploits, but to reach the playoffs, all three needed to excel in the regular season, too. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "Bumgarner’s possible last acts with Giants highlight his special run with franchise," 26 June 2019 In 2009, Italian digital entrepreneur Chiara Ferragni started The Blonde Salad, a blog that was essentially a visual potpourri of her fashion choices and travel exploits. Jessica Chia, Allure, "Chiara Ferragni Tells Us How She Gets the 'Blonde' in The Blonde Salad," 12 June 2019 Published in 1979, the book was an epic account of the idea of American heroism, viewed through the exploits of military test pilots and astronauts. Matt Schudel, Washington Post, "Tom Wolfe, apostle of ‘New Journalism’ who captured extravagance of his times, dies at 88," 15 May 2018 Garcia’s favorites were the tales of Conejo (Rabbit) and his exploits and many escapes from disaster. Charles David Kleymeyer, Smithsonian, "Meet Juan García Salazar, the Man Who Championed Black Identity in Ecuador," 14 June 2019 Following the adage of ‘all work and no play,’ the girls decide to catch up on their missed party exploits and cram them into one final day before graduation. Guy Hanford, Ramona Sentinel, "Flickers: ‘Shaft,’ ‘Men in Black International,’ ‘Dead Don’t Die’ open Friday," 13 June 2019 When the king moves to silence him, Apollonius flees and endures a string of harrowing exploits and far-fetched coincidences. Ron Charles Critic, Washington Post, "Mark Haddon’s ‘The Porpoise’ sounds like homework. It’s actually fantastic.," 11 June 2019 James has, however, been busy sharing exploits and stunning views from his vacation on social media. Matt Eppers, USA TODAY, "Cavaliers GM Koby Altman on LeBron James' departure: 'Hurt' but 'extremely thankful'," 7 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Never a nimble center, his lumbering 6-feet-11, 270-pound frame can be exploited at the defensive end. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Why DeMarcus Cousins is an unlikely option for Detroit Pistons in free agency," 4 July 2019 The company’s disclosure in September that hackers exploited several software bugs to obtain login access to accounts was tagged as Facebook’s worst security breach ever. BostonGlobe.com, "Airline food service workers nationwide authorize strike," 25 June 2019 Untested in the group stage, the U.S. defense showed cracks that a more seasoned opponent, such as France, could exploit. Steven Goff, The Denver Post, "USWNT gets its first taste of vulnerability ahead of its biggest World Cup test yet," 25 June 2019 Dworkin maximally exploits the deranging jolt of this discovery in Pornography, aided by the sensationalism of some of the pornographic images themselves. Elaine Blair, The New York Review of Books, "Fighting for Her Life," 17 June 2019 Most parents who arrive with children are quickly processed and released into the U.S. with a court appointment, a practice homeland security officials characterize as a loophole that the migrants are exploiting to gain easy entry to the country. Nick Miroff, Anchorage Daily News, "Arrests along Mexico border surged again in May, blowing past ‘breaking point’," 5 June 2019 Here are some of the areas where Russia are mainly active: Economic interests: Russia is now seeking to exploit conventional gas and oil fields in Africa and elsewhere. János Besenyő, Quartz Africa, "Russia is vying to offer African countries a credible alternative to the US and China," 4 June 2019 Singer studied the college admissions process for two decades – and then saw how it could be exploited. Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY, "Hope she talks? Don't.," 19 June 2019 Particularly concerning to regulators is how the crisis is increasing incidents of older adults being exploited by people looking for a way to finance their habit. Michelle Singletary, Washington Post, "How the opioid crisis is leading to elder financial abuse," 17 June 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

7 Jul 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 form ideas or theories about something

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