Is “Exult” The Word You’ll Be Looking For After This Election?

As we celebrate the winter holidays and the ending of another year, one word always seems to get left off of the guest list: exult. Despite this, exult is as tough as its cousin resilient and keeps coming back for more.

So, let’s clear the dance floor and shine the spotlight on exult and see what kind of a good time it brings to the party.

What does exult mean?

Exult is a verb that means “to show or feel a lively or triumphant joy; rejoice exceedingly; be highly elated or jubilant.” A person will exult when they are so happy or excited that they can’t keep it bottled up inside. Exulting will often take the form of cheering or shouting.

Here is how exult is used in sentences:

  • The crowd exulted after the home team made a comeback and won the big game in the final seconds.
  • The director exulted the massive success of his first feature film.

Exultant is an adjective form of exult, and exultation is a noun that refers to the act of exulting. For example: The child was exultant as she described her surprise birthday party that day. Or, you might also say, The music fueled the intense exultation of the joyful partygoers. 

Where does exult come from?

The original sense of exult, which dates back to the mid-1500s in English, was “to leap for joy.” And there’s a good reason for that: exult comes from the Latin exultāre, “to leap up.”

This verb is related to saltāre, “to dance,” and salīre, “to jump,” ultimately the source of such English words as resilient, result, salient, and somersault. When you’re exulting, you might feel like doing somersaults!

Exult vs. exalt vs. extol

Exult can be confused with the similar words exalt and extol. As you will see, the main thing to remember is that exult doesn’t use an object, while both exalt and extol need one.

Exalt is a verb that is most often used to mean “to raise in rank, honor, power, character, quality, etc.” or “to elevate.” It can also mean “to praise,” “to stimulate,” or “to intensify.”

For example:

  • For her acts of bravery, the soldier was exalted to the rank of general.
  • Despite widespread criticism, the artist continued to exalt his least popular paintings as his best work.

Extol is a verb that means “to praise highly” or “to laud.” You might say, The tour guide extolled the beautiful mountain range to the park’s guests. 

How to use exult

Exult is a verb that is never used with an object. It is used to refer to happy, joyful celebrations. Exult would be used to describe a person’s exuberant behavior or extremely positive reaction. Exult would not be used to describe sadness, defeat, anger, fear, or any other negative emotion.

For example:

  • The actor exulted inwardly when he saw his name on the cast list and later celebrated with friends.
  • The victor saw no reason to exult in the defeat of his fallen foe and coldly walked away.
  • My little sister always excessively exults after winning fierce games of Monopoly.

Don’t take those exultations too far when celebrating yourself, though. Learn some better alternatives to outright bragging here.

Synonyms and antonyms for exult

Other excitable words that have the same or similar meaning to exult include rejoice, celebrate, cheer, and jubilate. Just like exult, these words refer to the expression of overwhelming happiness or joy. For example: A humble person shows good sportsmanship and doesn’t celebrate the defeat of others. But your fans might rejoice: The reveal of the author’s new book caused ecstatic fans of the series to cheer. 

Words that mean the opposite of exult include grieve, mourn, and “to be sad.” These words express negative emotions that a person would have after something terrible or tragic has happened. Exult wants no part of these pity parties. For example, The girl mourned the sudden death of her pet cat and wouldn’t stop crying. 

Now that you know what exult means, we think it’s time to save a spot for this word on the guest list for your next soiree. Even if you have to celebrate via Zoom, don’t you think we could all use a little merry-making?


This article was sponsored by Exults, a leading digitally-focused marketing agency that offers custom-tailored digital marketing campaigns to clients around the country.

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