[ ik-sploi-tuh-tiv ]
/ 瑟k藞spl蓴瑟 t蓹 t瑟v /
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taking unfair or unethical advantage of a person, group, or situation for the purpose of profit, comfort, or advancement: Her success attracted too many exploitative relatives to count.
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Also ex路ploit路ive [ik-sploi-tiv] /瑟k藞spl蓴瑟 t瑟v/ . Sometimes ex路ploit路a路to路ry [ik-sploi-tuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /瑟k藞spl蓴瑟 t蓹藢t蓴r i, -藢to蕣r i/ .

Origin of exploitative

First recorded in 1890鈥95; exploit2 + -ative

OTHER WORDS FROM exploitative

ex路ploit路a路tive路ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 漏 Random House, Inc. 2023


What does聽exploitative mean?

Exploitative is an adjective that describes someone or something that selfishly takes advantage of someone or a group of people in order to profit from them or otherwise benefit.

It comes from the verb exploit, which commonly means to take advantage in such a way. The act of doing so is exploitation.

As a verb, exploit can also be used in a more neutral way that doesn鈥檛 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.

Exploitative is only ever used negatively, and it always implies greed, selfishness, or unethical practices. It鈥檚 often used in the context of the exploitation of workers by businesses, especially in phrases like exploitative practices.聽

Other, less common variations of exploitative are exploitive and exploitatory.

Example: The article exposes many of the industry鈥檚 exploitative business practices.

Where does聽exploitative come from?

The first records of the word exploitative come from the late 1800s. Its base word, exploit, is recorded much earlier and derives from the Latin explic膩tus, meaning 鈥渦nfolded鈥 or 鈥渟et forth.鈥 It wasn鈥檛 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鈥檚 own selfish ends.

Exploitative is most often used in the context of taking advantage of people. It is especially used to refer to the exploitation of workers by businesses that underpay and overwork them, or that take advantage of them in other ways. Such actions are often called exploitative practices. Exploitative often implies that it鈥檚 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 exploitative?

  • exploitive (adjective)
  • exploitatory (adjective)
  • exploitatively (adverb)
  • exploit (verb)

What are some words that share a root or word element with exploitative?聽


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


How is聽exploitative聽used in real life?

Exploit and exploitation can be used negatively or neutrally, but exploitative is always used in a negative way. It鈥檚 usually used in the context of people who are being exploited for profit.



Try using聽exploitative!

True or False?聽

The word exploitative can be used in a positive way.

How to use exploitative in a sentence