[ ek-ser-sahyz ]
See synonyms for exercise on Thesaurus.com
  1. bodily or mental exertion, especially for the sake of training or improvement of health: Walking is good exercise.

  2. something done or performed as a means of practice or training: exercises for the piano.

  1. a putting into action, use, operation, or effect: the exercise of caution.

  2. a written composition, musical piece, or artistic work executed for practice or to illustrate a particular aspect of technique.

  3. Often exercises. a traditional ceremony: graduation exercises.

  4. a religious observance or service.

verb (used with object),ex·er·cised, ex·er·cis·ing.
  1. to put through exercises, or forms of practice or exertion, designed to train, develop, condition, or the like: to exercise a horse.

  2. to put (faculties, rights, etc.) into action, practice, or use: to exercise freedom of speech.

  1. to use or display in one's action or procedure: to exercise judgment.

  2. to make use of (one's privileges, powers, etc.): to exercise one's constitutional rights.

  3. to discharge (a function); perform: to exercise the duties of one's office.

  4. to have as an effect: to exercise an influence on someone.

  5. to worry; make uneasy; annoy: to be much exercised about one's health.

verb (used without object),ex·er·cised, ex·er·cis·ing.
  1. to go through exercises; take bodily exercise.

Origin of exercise

First recorded in1300–50; Middle English (noun), from Middle French exercice, from Latin exercitium, from exercit(us) “trained” (past participle of exercēre “to train,” from ex- ex-1 + -ercēre, combining form of arcēre “to restrain”) + -ium, noun suffix

synonym study For exercise

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.

Other words for exercise

Opposites for exercise

Other words from exercise

  • ex·er·cis·a·ble, adjective
  • non·ex·er·cis·a·ble, adjective
  • non·ex·er·cise, noun
  • o·ver·ex·er·cise, verb, o·ver·ex·er·cised, o·ver·ex·er·cis·ing.
  • post·ex·er·cise, adjective
  • re·ex·er·cise, verb, re·ex·er·cised, re·ex·er·cis·ing.
  • un·der·ex·er·cise, verb (used without object), un·der·ex·er·cised, un·der·ex·er·cis·ing.
  • un·ex·er·cis·a·ble, adjective
  • un·ex·er·cised, adjective
  • well-ex·er·cised, adjective

Words that may be confused with exercise

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

British Dictionary definitions for exercise


/ (ˈɛksəˌsaɪz) /

verb(mainly tr)
  1. to put into use; employ: to exercise tact

  2. (intr) to take exercise or perform exercises; exert one's muscles, etc, esp in order to keep fit

  1. to practise using in order to develop or train: to exercise one's voice

  2. to perform or make proper use of: to exercise one's rights

  3. to bring to bear; exert: to exercise one's influence

  4. (often passive) to occupy the attentions of, esp so as to worry or vex: to be exercised about a decision

  5. military to carry out or cause to carry out, manoeuvres, simulated combat operations, etc

  1. physical exertion, esp for the purpose of development, training, or keeping fit

  2. mental or other activity or practice, esp in order to develop a skill

  1. a set of movements, questions, tasks, etc, designed to train, improve, or test one's ability in a particular field: piano exercises

  2. a performance or work of art done as practice or to demonstrate a technique

  3. the performance of a function; discharge: the exercise of one's rights; the object of the exercise is to win

  4. (sometimes plural) military a manoeuvre or simulated combat operation carried out for training and evaluation

  5. (usually plural) US and Canadian a ceremony or formal routine, esp at a school or college: opening exercises; graduation exercises

  6. gymnastics a particular type of event, such as performing on the horizontal bar

Origin of exercise

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

Derived forms of exercise

  • exercisable, adjective

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