View synonyms for exploitation


[ ek-sploi-tey-shuhn ]


  1. use or utilization, especially for profit:

    the exploitation of newly discovered oil fields.

  2. selfish utilization:

    He got ahead through the exploitation of his friends.

  3. the combined, often varied, use of public-relations and advertising techniques to promote a person, movie, product, etc.

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Other Words From

  • ex·ploi·ta·tion·al adjective
  • ex·ploi·ta·tion·al·ly adverb
  • non·ex·ploi·ta·tion noun
  • o·ver·ex·ploi·ta·tion noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of exploitation1

From French, dating back to 1795–1805; exploit 2, -ation

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Example Sentences

Parents advised to be engaged Not all investigators are convinced that pandemic-related shutdowns are driving more online exploitation of children.

We haven’t left the context that emerges in the early 18th century in western Europe, of urban policing, the criminalization of gender difference, and the exploitation of gender variant peoples for commercial purposes.

From Time

We’re not requiring attackers to come up with all new bug classes, develop brand new exploitation, look at code that has never been researched before.

To restore privacy and self-determination, there need to much greater limits on the ownership and exploitation of personal data by businesses.

From Time

In particular, Alan hates with a passion all the Campbells, whose chief — known as the Red Fox — functions as the crown’s agent of oppression and exploitation.

Exploitation of trafficking victims may be most acute in conflict and adjoining regions, but it is not confined to these areas.

And far from being secondary partners, Scots featured disproportionately in overseas imperial exploitation.

She is rootless and stateless, having little in the way of rights or protection from exploitation.

Syrian women and girls are facing increased danger from sexual exploitation in the very refugee camps where they sought safety.

They were equally amazed to learn that Ed Piskor was white, but not a word was said about cultural exploitation or appropriation.

For, of course, as capital heaped up and its control became concentrated, the ratio of exploitation increased.

The opinion was offered that they represented the exploitation of some new brand of whisky which would announce itself later.

Yet on the medical profession rests the responsibility for the exploitation of this nostrum.

Evidently this method of exploitation pays; that it does pay is a disgrace to the medical profession.

It should not be difficult for the physician to fix the status of iridium under this sort of exploitation.


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More About Exploitation

What does exploitation mean?

Exploitation is the act of selfishly taking advantage of someone or a group of people in order to profit from them or otherwise benefit oneself.

Exploitation is a noun form of the verb exploit, which commonly means to take advantage in such a way. The adjective form is exploitative, as in exploitative practices. 

As a verb, exploit can also be used in a more neutral way that doesn’t imply selfishness: to make the best use of something, especially an opportunity, or to create a profit or other benefit. But when the verb is applied to people, it is always used negatively.

Exploitation can also be used in a way that means the use of something, especially for profit, as in Since we have these resources, we should make sure that the exploitation of them maximizes revenue. 

Still, exploitation is most commonly used in a negative way. One phrase in which it has this negative sense is exploitation film, a low-budget movie characterized by extreme violence, excessive gore, gratuitous sex, or other content meant to shock, disgust, or titillate.

The related term blaxploitation refers to the exploitation of Black people and stereotypes about them, especially in movies featuring or intending to appeal to Black people.

Example: The exploitation of workers to maximize profit is sadly widespread.

Where does exploitation come from?

The first records of the word exploitation come from right around 1800. It’s base word, exploit, is recorded much earlier and derives from the Latin explicātus, meaning “unfolded” or “set forth.” It wasn’t until around the 1800s that exploit started to be used to refer to extracting natural resources from the earth, and then to using someone or something for one’s own selfish ends.

Exploitation is most often used negatively, especially when it refers to taking advantage of people. It is often used in the context of the exploitation of workers by businesses that underpay and overwork them, or take advantage of them in other ways. Exploitation often implies that it’s being done by people who are in positions of power to those without power. Poor people and people of color are often targets of such exploitation.

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What are some other forms related to exploitation?

  • exploit (verb)
  • exploitational (adjective)
  • exploitationally (adverb)
  • nonexploitation (noun)
  • overexploitation (noun)

What are some synonyms for exploitation?

What are some words that share a root or word element with exploitation


What are some words that often get used in discussing exploitation?


How is exploitation used in real life?

Exploitation is most commonly used in a negative way, especially in the context of people who are being exploited for profit.



Try using exploitation!

True or False? 

The word exploitation is always used in a negative way.




exploitexploitation film