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

Definition of exploit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: deed, act especially : a notable, memorable, or heroic act a daring exploit a book about his youthful exploits I took out the list of Professor Challenger's exploits, and I read it over under the electric lamp. — Arthur Conan Doyle About midnight the gang returned, with various articles of plunder, and talked over their exploits— Sir Walter Scott It used to be rare for C.I.A. employees to recount their exploits, or grievances, in print. — Alex Berenson


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

Noun 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 Verb 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 short, while there is an exploit that can crash the game, there does not seem to be anything serious enough to pose an actual threat to people’s machines, as the original viral post stated. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 9 Sep. 2021 Schrader, who wrote the movie with his brother, Leonard, offers a searing diagnosis of how the powerful exploit pressure points among the powerless. New York Times, 8 July 2021 There's a bit of a mess in Windows world this week, after a proof-of-concept exploit known as PrintNightmare leaked, effectively providing a piping-hot zero-day vulnerability. Brian Barrett, Wired, 3 July 2021 Microsoft is warning users to update their Windows 10 operating systems after an exploit called PrintNightmare was discovered by security researchers. Dave Gershgorn, Fortune, 8 July 2021 CrossTalk, as the new exploit has been named, will force researchers and engineers to revisit that assumption. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 9 June 2020 The company is also being sued in the United States by Facebook for allegedly targeting some 1,400 users of its encrypted messaging service WhatsApp with a zero-click exploit. Alan Sunderman, The Christian Science Monitor, 30 July 2021 There are currently at least three PoC exploits publicly available, some with capabilities that go well beyond what the initial exploit allowed. Dan Goodin, Wired, 8 July 2021 Bill Marczak, a senior researcher at Citizen Lab, said any unyielding hacker could send another zero-click exploit after a reboot. Abigail Adams, PEOPLE.com, 28 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The answer at least in part appears to be that Apple was working with incomplete information until September 7, when Citizen Lab discovered more details of the ForcedEntry exploit on the phone of an activist from Saudi Arabia. Brian Barrett, Wired, 14 Sep. 2021 While Apple’s patch was aimed at the Pegasus exploit, the company did not mention NSO Group. Washington Post, 14 Sep. 2021 In whatever facet Colorado defends more successfully, Fisher and the play-calling will exploit through varied personnel. Dallas News, 9 Sep. 2021 But situationally, the Chiefs can still exploit the Browns with the early-down pass. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 6 Sep. 2021 Companies are responding to a sea change in demand for a shift to more sustainable forms of production that exploit the opportunities of new technology – from data analytics and AI to digital twins and quantum logistics. Jean-marc Ollagnier, Forbes, 2 Sep. 2021 From that moment, the two saw the opportunity to harness — and unapologetically exploit — Barkan’s terminal disease for political purposes. Los Angeles Times, 31 Aug. 2021 The defense, however, implied Jane Doe #5's parents had been attempting to exploit R. Kelly from the start via their daughter, citing those letters as evidence. Joe Lynch, Billboard, 25 Aug. 2021 Earth’s inky backyard is a classic example of the tragedy of the commons, whereby a joint ownership of a good between multiple countries incentivizes everyone to exploit it and no one to take care of it. Shi En Kim, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 Aug. 2021

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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Time Traveler for exploit

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

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Last Updated

17 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Exploit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exploit. Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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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.

More from Merriam-Webster on exploit

Nglish: Translation of exploit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exploit for Arabic Speakers


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