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

Essential Meaning of exploit

: an exciting act or action

Full 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 But after a computer exploit for the flaws became public, cybercriminal groups also took advantage of the situation to target vulnerable organizations with ransomware and other scams. Sean Lyngaas, CNN, 16 Sep. 2021 Updating to the latest version of iOS or Mac OS will keep users from being newly infected with this particular exploit, Scott-Railton said. NBC News, 13 Sep. 2021 In 2016, Zerodium would pay only $200,000 for the most valuable exploit. Washington Post, 9 Sep. 2021 So, the final verdict is that some sort of exploit exists, but one that only affects the game, rather than your PC. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 9 Sep. 2021 The exploit itself can easily infect iPhones, iPads, Macs, and even Apple Watches. Yoni Heisler, BGR, 29 Sep. 2021 Facebook's WhatsApp was also allegedly targeted by an NSO zero-click exploit. CBS News, 15 Sep. 2021 Researchers at Citizen Lab found the new exploit from NSO Group’s Pegasus surveillance tool targeting iPhones and other Apple devices through iMessage. Washington Post, 14 Sep. 2021 WhatsApp was also allegedly targeted by an NSO zero-click exploit. Frank Bajak, chicagotribune.com, 14 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The relative lack of cohesion in Scottish football could be perfect for Ange Postecoglou and Celtic to exploit, if, according to Darwin, he is given backing to implement his ideas. Mike Meehall Wood, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2021 So this will serve as the entryway for IFC to exploit to get butts in seats at screenings (if there are any screenings with COVID spiking). Clayton Davis, Variety, 2 Sep. 2021 Smeltzer said those who are looking for children to exploit use social media and other modern technology to find their victims. Tom Sissom, Arkansas Online, 1 Aug. 2021 But the discerning nature of most tests has also opened up a weak point for the coronavirus to exploit. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 7 June 2021 The administration’s regulators also take the position that today’s tech Goliaths exploit their dominance to quash rivals. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 6 Oct. 2021 The bill requires the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to launch a program that will warn organizations of vulnerabilities that ransomware actors exploit. Geneva Sands, CNN, 28 Sep. 2021 This created a loophole that contractors with City Hall connections could exploit by splitting a big contract into many smaller ones, each under $1,000. BostonGlobe.com, 22 Sep. 2021 But both operating a platform and marketing their own goods and services on it creates a conflict of interest that big tech companies can exploit to further solidify their dominance, thwart competition and stifle innovation. Mikael Berner, Forbes, 13 Sep. 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

23 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Exploit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exploit. Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for exploit


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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