- 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.
- a flaw in hardware or software that is vulnerable to hacking or other cyberattacks.
- 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 exploit2
- a notable deed or feat, esp one that is noble or heroic
- 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
Word Origin 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.