[ek-sploit, ik-sploit]


a striking or notable deed; feat; spirited or heroic act: the exploits of Alexander the Great.

Origin of exploit

1350–1400; Middle English exploit, espleit < Old French exploit, Anglo-French espleit < Latin explicitum, neuter of explicitus (past participle). See explicit

Synonyms for exploit

Synonym study


[verb ik-sploit; noun eks-ploit, ik-sploit]

verb (used with object)

to utilize, especially for profit; turn to practical account: to exploit a business opportunity.
to use selfishly for one's own ends: employers who exploit their workers.
to advance or further through exploitation; promote: He exploited his new movie through a series of guest appearances.

noun Digital Technology.

  1. a flaw in hardware or software that is vulnerable to hacking or other cyberattacks.
  2. a piece of software that takes advantage of such a flaw to compromise a computer system or network.
(in a video game) the use of a bug or flaw in game design to a player’s advantage or to the disadvantage of other players.

Origin of exploit

1375–1425; < French exploiter, derivative of exploit (noun); replacing late Middle English expleiten “to achieve,” from Anglo-French, Middle French espleiter, espleitier derivative of espleit, esploit (noun). See exploit1
Related formsex·ploit·a·ble, adjectiveex·ploit·a·bil·i·ty, nounex·ploit·a·tive, ex·ploit·a·to·ry [ik-sploi-tuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ɪkˈsplɔɪ təˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/, ex·ploit·ive, adjectiveex·ploit·er, nounhalf-ex·ploit·ed, adjectivenon·ex·ploit·a·ble, adjectivenon·ex·ploit·a·tive, adjectivenon·ex·ploi·tive, adjectiveself-ex·ploit·ed, adjectiveself-ex·ploit·ing, adjectiveun·ex·ploit·a·ble, adjectiveun·ex·ploit·a·tive, adjectiveun·ex·ploit·ed, adjectiveun·ex·ploit·ive, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for exploit

Contemporary Examples of exploit

Historical Examples of exploit

  • England accomplished her purpose in part, but greatly suffered for her exploit.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • He was pretty sure Tom had had no share in the exploit; but he did not know about Charley.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • Aunt Jamsiah had been all wrong in her anger at that exploit which had stirred the village.

    Pee-wee Harris

    Percy Keese Fitzhugh

  • I think Baron von Konigstein was your partner in the exploit?

    Vivian Grey

    Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli

  • He had been taken prisoner when engaged in some exploit which was contrary to the usages of war.


    James Anthony Froude

British Dictionary definitions for exploit


noun (ˈɛksplɔɪt)

a notable deed or feat, esp one that is noble or heroic

verb (ɪkˈsplɔɪt) (tr)

to take advantage of (a person, situation, etc), esp unethically or unjustly for one's own ends
to make the best use ofto exploit natural resources
Derived Formsexploitable, adjectiveexploitation, nounexploitive or exploitative, adjective

Word Origin for exploit

C14: from Old French: accomplishment, from Latin explicitum (something) unfolded, from explicāre to explicate
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 exploit

late 14c., "outcome of an action," from Old French esploit (12c.), a very common word, used in senses of "action, deed, profit, achievement," from Latin explicitum "a thing settled, ended, displayed," neuter of explicitus, past participle of explicare "unfold" (see explicit).

Meaning "feat, achievement" is c.1400. Sense evolution is from "unfolding" to "bringing out" to "having advantage" to "achievement." Related: Exploits.


c.1400 espleiten, esploiten "to accomplish, achieve, fulfill," from Old French esploitier, espleiter, from esploit (see exploit (n.)).

The sense of "use selfishly" first recorded 1838, from French, perhaps extended from use of the word with reference to mines, etc. (cf. exploitation). Related: Exploited; exploiting. As an adjective form, exploitative (1882) is from French; exploitive (by 1859) appears to be a native formation.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper