1. bodily or mental exertion, especially for the sake of training or improvement of health: Walking is good exercise.
  2. something done or performed as a means of practice or training: exercises for the piano.
  3. a putting into action, use, operation, or effect: the exercise of caution.
  4. a written composition, musical piece, or artistic work executed for practice or to illustrate a particular aspect of technique.
  5. Often exercises. a traditional ceremony: graduation exercises.
  6. a religious observance or service.
verb (used with object), ex·er·cised, ex·er·cis·ing.
  1. to put through exercises, or forms of practice or exertion, designed to train, develop, condition, or the like: to exercise a horse.
  2. to put (faculties, rights, etc.) into action, practice, or use: to exercise freedom of speech.
  3. to use or display in one's action or procedure: to exercise judgment.
  4. to make use of (one's privileges, powers, etc.): to exercise one's constitutional rights.
  5. to discharge (a function); perform: to exercise the duties of one's office.
  6. to have as an effect: to exercise an influence on someone.
  7. to worry; make uneasy; annoy: to be much exercised about one's health.
verb (used without object), ex·er·cised, ex·er·cis·ing.
  1. to go through exercises; take bodily exercise.

Origin of exercise

1300–50; Middle English (noun) < Middle French exercice < Latin exercitium, equivalent to exercit(us) past participle of exercēre to train (ex- ex-1 + -ercit-, stem of combining form of arcēre to restrain) + -ium noun suffix
Related formsex·er·cis·a·ble, adjectivenon·ex·er·cis·a·ble, adjectivenon·ex·er·cise, nouno·ver·ex·er·cise, verb, o·ver·ex·er·cised, o·ver·ex·er·cis·ing.post·ex·er·cise, adjectivere·ex·er·cise, verb, re·ex·er·cised, re·ex·er·cis·ing.un·der·ex·er·cise, verb (used without object), un·der·ex·er·cised, un·der·ex·er·cis·ing.un·ex·er·cis·a·ble, adjectiveun·ex·er·cised, adjectivewell-ex·er·cised, adjective
Can be confusedexercise exorcise

Synonyms for exercise

Synonym study

2. Exercise, drill, practice refer to activities undertaken for training in some skill. Exercise is the most general term and may be either physical or mental: an exercise in arithmetic. Drill is disciplined repetition of set exercises, often performed in a group, directed by a leader: military drill. Practice is repeated or methodical exercise: Even great musicians require constant practice.

Antonyms for exercise

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for over-exercise

Historical Examples of over-exercise

British Dictionary definitions for over-exercise


verb (mainly tr)
  1. to put into use; employto exercise tact
  2. (intr) to take exercise or perform exercises; exert one's muscles, etc, esp in order to keep fit
  3. to practise using in order to develop or trainto exercise one's voice
  4. to perform or make proper use ofto exercise one's rights
  5. to bring to bear; exertto exercise one's influence
  6. (often passive) to occupy the attentions of, esp so as to worry or vexto be exercised about a decision
  7. military to carry out or cause to carry out, manoeuvres, simulated combat operations, etc
  1. physical exertion, esp for the purpose of development, training, or keeping fit
  2. mental or other activity or practice, esp in order to develop a skill
  3. a set of movements, questions, tasks, etc, designed to train, improve, or test one's ability in a particular fieldpiano exercises
  4. a performance or work of art done as practice or to demonstrate a technique
  5. the performance of a function; dischargethe exercise of one's rights; the object of the exercise is to win
  6. (sometimes plural) military a manoeuvre or simulated combat operation carried out for training and evaluation
  7. (usually plural) US and Canadian a ceremony or formal routine, esp at a school or collegeopening exercises; graduation exercises
  8. gymnastics a particular type of event, such as performing on the horizontal bar
Derived Formsexercisable, adjective

Word Origin for exercise

C14: from Old French exercice, from Latin exercitium, from exercēre to drill, from ex- 1 + arcēre to ward off
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 over-exercise



mid-14c., "condition of being in active operation; practice for the sake of training," from Old French exercice (13c.) "exercise, execution of power; physical or spiritual exercise," from Latin exercitium "training, exercise," from exercitare, frequentative of exercere "keep busy, drive on," literally "remove restraint," from ex- "off" (see ex-) + arcere "keep away, prevent, enclose," from PIE *ark- "to hold, contain, guard" (see arcane).

Original sense may have been driving farm animals to the field to plow. Meaning "physical activity" first recorded in English late 14c.; in reference to written schoolwork from early 17c. The ending was abstracted for formations such as dancercise (1967); jazzercise (1977); and boxercise (1985).



late 14c., "to employ, put into active use," from exercise (n.); originally "to make use of;" also in regard to mental and spiritual training; sense of "engage in physical activity" is from 1650s. Related: Exercised; exercises; exercising.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

over-exercise in Medicine


  1. Active bodily exertion performed to develop or maintain fitness.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.