exploit

1 of 2

noun

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

exploit

2 of 2

verb

exploited; exploiting; exploits

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
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

Example Sentences

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
Noun
Mango has not yet confirmed the cause for the apparent exploit. Taylor Locke, Fortune, 12 Oct. 2022 A couple of nights before the exploit, Nayeri took Cortney to a birthday dinner in Newport Beach. Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone, 17 Dec. 2022 This particular exploit also cleaned up after itself, clearing the Internet Explorer cache and history of its presence. Kevin Purdy, Ars Technica, 8 Dec. 2022 The hackers used emails as well as fake and compromised websites to trick targets into triggering the exploit. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 28 Mar. 2022 This potential exploit is among a string of hacks to hit the crypto ecosystem recently—there were multiple hacks today alone, and last week, a bridge used by crypto exchange Binance was hacked for $100 million. Taylor Locke, Fortune, 12 Oct. 2022 Once the vendor learns of the zero-day, they are usually patched quickly, causing the value of the exploit to plummet. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 25 Oct. 2022 An exploit on a cross-chain bridge, BSC Token Hub, resulted in extra BNB. CBS News, 7 Oct. 2022 An exploit on a cross-chain bridge, BSC Token Hub, resulted in extra BNB. Taylor Locke, Fortune, 7 Oct. 2022
Verb
Both McDonald and Steve Bresnen, an Austin lawyer who has sued Sullivan and pushed for stronger enforcement of Texas ethics laws, said there’s no practical way for hard-right Republicans to exploit the ruling before Tuesday’s speaker’s election. Dallas News, 4 Jan. 2023 This opportunity for crypto owners to exploit short term capital losses, however, is unlikely to last much longer. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, 30 Dec. 2022 As the federal government made available billions of dollars in aid for people directly affected by the virus, lax supervision nationwide allowed for people to exploit the funds and programs for their own benefit. Hartford Courant, 6 Dec. 2022 Despite those suspicions, TRM Labs' Janczewski points out that the chaos of FTX's meltdown might have provided an opportunity for hackers to exploit panicked employees and trick them into, say, clicking on a phishing email. WIRED, 13 Nov. 2022 Hemmer makes clear that GOP insiders made conscious decisions about the party’s direction that created openings for these media figures to exploit. Claire Potter, The New Republic, 11 Oct. 2022 Like Singletary, look for Mixon to exploit these matchups and become a huge target for Joe Burrow. Lance Reisland, cleveland, 29 Sep. 2022 In 2019, a bipartisan Senate report said China’s Thousand Talents Program and similar arrangements were a vector for China to exploit U.S. research. Ken Dilanian, NBC News, 21 Sep. 2022 But they are not distributed evenly, which opens up vulnerabilities for the virus to exploit. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 16 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

Verb

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" 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

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

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 26 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

exploit

1 of 2 noun
: a brave or daring act

exploit

2 of 2 verb
1
: to get value or use from
exploit your talents
exploit an opponent's weaknesses
2
: to make use of unfairly for one's own advantage
exploiting migrant farm workers
exploitable adjective
exploitation
ˌek-ˌsplȯi-ˈtā-shən
noun
exploiter
ik-ˈsplȯit-ər
ˈek-ˌsplȯit-
noun

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