verb (used with object)

to put forth or into use, as power; exercise, as ability or influence; put into vigorous action: to exert every effort.
to put (oneself) into strenuous, vigorous action or effort.

Origin of exert

1650–60; < Latin ex(s)ertus, past participle of exserere to thrust out, equivalent to ex- ex-1 + ser(ere) to bind together + -tus past participle suffix
Related formsex·er·tive, adjectivenon·ex·er·tive, adjectivesu·per·ex·ert, verb (used with object)un·ex·ert·ed, adjectivewell-ex·ert·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for exert

Contemporary Examples of exert

Historical Examples of exert

  • Moreover, she will never again have opportunity to exert influence over me.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • She must take care to exert it kindly but seriously now that the old Judge was gone.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • She knew not how to exert any such will, she could not, she would not exert it.

  • What was the influence, the fascination that strange old Frenchman seemed to exert?

  • The army and navy also exert a detrimental action on sexual life.

British Dictionary definitions for exert


verb (tr)

to use (influence, authority, etc) forcefully or effectively
to apply (oneself) diligently; make a strenuous effort
Derived Formsexertion, nounexertive, adjective

Word Origin for exert

C17 (in the sense: push forth, emit): from Latin exserere to thrust out, from ex- 1 + serere to bind together, entwine
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 exert

1660s, "thrust forth, push out," from Latin exertus/exsertus, past participle of exerere/exserere "thrust out, put forth," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + serere "attach, join" (see series). Meaning "put into use" is 1680s. Related: Exerted; exerting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper