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[ek-sploi-tey-shuh n] /ˌɛk splɔɪˈteɪ ʃən/
use or utilization, especially for profit:
the exploitation of newly discovered oil fields.
selfish utilization:
He got ahead through the exploitation of his friends.
the combined, often varied, use of public-relations and advertising techniques to promote a person, movie, product, etc.
1795-1805; < French; see exploit, -ation
Related forms
exploitational, adjective
exploitationally, adverb
nonexploitation, noun
overexploitation, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for overexploitation
  • Many of these species are at risk from challenges such as overexploitation and climate change.
  • One is simple overexploitation of existing resources.
  • Loss of habitat, the effects of introduced species and overexploitation are all key threats.
  • As a result of this rampant overexploitation the once-common species could be driven into extinction in the next two decades.
  • overexploitation and pollution threaten groundwater supplies.
  • There are places where the continent is so stressed by overexploitation that entire ecosystems are in or near collapse.
  • Students will be able to interpret basic data to predict when a fishery stock is beginning to show signs of overexploitation.
  • overexploitation and pollution also threaten groundwater supplies.
  • overexploitation of coastal resources and contamination are also key threats.
  • Major stresses include: organic and inorganic pollution, sedimentation, and overexploitation.
Word Origin and History for overexploitation



1803, "productive working" of something, a positive word among those who used it first, though regarded as a Gallicism, from French exploitation, noun of action from exploiter (see exploit (v.)). Bad sense developed 1830s-50s, in part from influence of French socialist writings (especially Saint Simon), also perhaps influenced by U.S. anti-slavery writing; and the insulting word was hurled at activities it once had crowned as praise.

It follows from this science [conceived by Saint Simon] that the tendency of the human race is from a state of antagonism to that of an universal peaceful association -- from the dominating influence of the military spirit to that of the industriel one; from what they call l'exploitation de l'homme par l'homme to the exploitation of the globe by industry. ["Quarterly Review," April & July 1831]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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