verb (used with object), ex·er·cised, ex·er·cis·ing.

verb (used without object), ex·er·cised, ex·er·cis·ing.

to go through exercises; take bodily exercise.

Nearby words

  1. exenteration,
  2. exenteritis,
  3. exequatur,
  4. exequies,
  5. exequy,
  6. exercise ball,
  7. exercise bicycle,
  8. exercise bike,
  9. exercise book,
  10. exercise machine

Origin of exercise

1300–50; Middle English (noun) < Middle French exercice < Latin exercitium, equivalent to exercit(us) past participle of exercēre to train (ex- ex-1 + -ercit-, stem of combining form of arcēre to restrain) + -ium noun suffix

Related forms
Can be confusedexercise exorcise

Synonym study

2. Exercise, drill, practice refer to activities undertaken for training in some skill. Exercise is the most general term and may be either physical or mental: an exercise in arithmetic. Drill is disciplined repetition of set exercises, often performed in a group, directed by a leader: military drill. Practice is repeated or methodical exercise: Even great musicians require constant practice.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for exercise

British Dictionary definitions for exercise


verb (mainly tr)

to put into use; employto exercise tact
(intr) to take exercise or perform exercises; exert one's muscles, etc, esp in order to keep fit
to practise using in order to develop or trainto exercise one's voice
to perform or make proper use ofto exercise one's rights
to bring to bear; exertto exercise one's influence
(often passive) to occupy the attentions of, esp so as to worry or vexto be exercised about a decision
military to carry out or cause to carry out, manoeuvres, simulated combat operations, etc


physical exertion, esp for the purpose of development, training, or keeping fit
mental or other activity or practice, esp in order to develop a skill
a set of movements, questions, tasks, etc, designed to train, improve, or test one's ability in a particular fieldpiano exercises
a performance or work of art done as practice or to demonstrate a technique
the performance of a function; dischargethe exercise of one's rights; the object of the exercise is to win
(sometimes plural) military a manoeuvre or simulated combat operation carried out for training and evaluation
(usually plural) US and Canadian a ceremony or formal routine, esp at a school or collegeopening exercises; graduation exercises
gymnastics a particular type of event, such as performing on the horizontal bar
Derived Formsexercisable, adjective

Word Origin for exercise

C14: from Old French exercice, from Latin exercitium, from exercēre to drill, from ex- 1 + arcēre to ward off

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for exercise
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for exercise




Active bodily exertion performed to develop or maintain fitness.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.