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[ek-sploit, ik-sploit] /ˈɛk splɔɪt, ɪkˈsplɔɪt/
a striking or notable deed; feat; spirited or heroic act:
the exploits of Alexander the Great.
Origin of exploit1
1350-1400; Middle English exploit, espleit < Old French exploit, Anglo-French espleit < Latin explicitum, neuter of explicitus (past participle). See explicit
accomplishment. See achievement.


[ik-sploit] /ɪkˈsplɔɪt/
verb (used with object)
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.
1375-1425; < French exploiter, derivative of exploit (noun); replacing late Middle English expleiten to achieve < Anglo-French espleiter, derivative of espleit (noun). See exploit1
Related forms
exploitable, adjective
exploitability, noun
exploitative, exploitatory
[ik-sploi-tuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ɪkˈsplɔɪ təˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/ (Show IPA),
exploitive, adjective
exploiter, noun
half-exploited, adjective
nonexploitable, adjective
nonexploitative, adjective
nonexploitive, adjective
self-exploited, adjective
self-exploiting, adjective
unexploitable, adjective
unexploitative, adjective
unexploited, adjective
unexploitive, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for exploit
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
British Dictionary definitions for exploit


noun (ˈɛksplɔɪt)
a notable deed or feat, esp one that is noble or heroic
verb (transitive) (ɪkˈsplɔɪt)
to take advantage of (a person, situation, etc), esp unethically or unjustly for one's own ends
to make the best use of: to exploit natural resources
Derived Forms
exploitable, adjective
exploitation, noun
exploitive, exploitative, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Old French: accomplishment, from Latin explicitum (something) unfolded, from explicāre to explicate
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
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Word Origin and History 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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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exploit in Technology
A security hole or an instance of taking advantage of a security hole.
"[...] hackers say exploit. sysadmins say hole" -- Mike Emke (
Emke reports that the stress is on the second syllable. If this is true, this may be a case of hackerly zero-deriving verbs (especially instantials) from nouns, akin to "write" as a noun to describe an instance of a disk drive writing to a disk.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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