1 of 2


plural exploits
: 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 exploitsSir Walter Scott
It used to be rare for C.I.A. employees to recount their exploits, or grievances, in print. Alex Berenson


2 of 2


exploited; exploiting; exploits

transitive verb

: to make productive use of : utilize
exploiting your talents
exploit your opponent's weakness
: to make use of meanly or unfairly for one's own advantage
exploiting migrant farm workers
exploitability noun
exploitable 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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Published in 1897, the gothic horror centers the macabre exploits of the Transylvanian vampire Count Dracula. Edward Segarra, USA TODAY, 25 June 2024 Its namesake, Newlin Landers, owned an L.A. aviation parts business and was fascinated with tales of Van Tassel’s exploits. Alex Wigglesworth, Los Angeles Times, 23 June 2024
Others worried that out-of-town landlords would exploit the ordinance as a profit-boosting tool by buying up properties and building accessory dwelling units to have another unit to rent out, the councilmember said. Killian Baarlaer, The Enquirer, 14 July 2024 Given the requirement that end users must click on an attached executable for the attack to work, this Exim vulnerability isn’t as serious as the one that was exploited starting in 2019. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 11 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for exploit 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'exploit.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English espleit, expleit, esploit, exploit "furtherance, favorable outcome, outcome (good or bad), undertaking, military expedition, deed of arms," borrowed from Anglo-French espleit, esploit, exploit "carrying out, execution, achievement, course, success, gain," probably noun derivative of espleiter, esploiter "to carry out, achieve, expedite" — more at exploit entry 2


Middle English espleiten, expleiten, expleten, esploiten "to facilitate, expedite (a journey), fulfill (a need), execute, complete, relate, explain," borrowed from Anglo-French espleiter, esploiter, exploiter "to carry out, achieve, promote, expedite, make use of, use unfairly, progress, succeed, act," probably going back to Vulgar Latin *explicitāre, repetitive derivative of Latin explicāre "to free from folds or creases, unroll, disentangle, spread out, bring into play, exercise" — more at explicate

Note: The Middle English form expleten suggests association with Latin explēre "to fill up, carry to completion, accomplish" (compare expletive entry 2). Latinizing variants with ex- have completely replaced earlier es- in both English and French. Earlier standard etymological dictionaries of French (Französisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, Bloch and Wartburg's Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue française) see the noun as the more basic form, going back to *explicitum, allegedly formed from the neuter of the Latin past participle explicitus (see explicit)—though the sense of the noun is active, not passive. Romance outcomes of *explicitāre are mainly restricted to Gallo-Romance (as Old Occitan esplechar "to make use of, execute, accomplish") and Catalan (esplet "harvest," espletar "to harvest"). Note that *explicitāre preserves only the figurative meaning "bring into play, exercise" of the root word explicāre, out of which French and English have elaborated further meanings. The sense "relate, explain" of the Middle English verb is not paralleled in French and did not survive into Modern English.

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1795, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near exploit

Cite this Entry

“Exploit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exploit. Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a brave or daring act


2 of 2 verb
: to get value or use from
exploit your talents
exploit an opponent's weaknesses
: to make use of unfairly for one's own advantage
exploiting migrant farm workers
exploitable adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on exploit

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