Definition of exploit in English:



[with object]
Pronunciation /ɪkˈsplɔɪt//ɛkˈsplɔɪt/
  • 1Make full use of and derive benefit from (a resource)

    ‘500 companies sprang up to exploit this new technology’
    • ‘And unless we are careful while exploiting this resource, we might end up depleting it to unsustainable levels.’
    • ‘This means pushing to the limit their traditional food crops as well as their already over exploited marine resources.’
    • ‘Whelks are widely distributed, but are commercially exploited in only some regions.’
    • ‘He said that it was like the old colonial attitude of exploiting a resource in an area but bringing the benefits back home to the ‘motherland’.’
    • ‘And there are countless bacteria out there, just waiting to be commercially exploited.’
    • ‘It claims entitlement to an unspecific open-ended incentive derived from exploiting a natural resource.’
    • ‘We are looking at exploiting other natural resources in the area, such as gold, such as phosphates, such as bauxite.’
    • ‘Services that exploit the higher bandwidth available with 3G have to be marketed to consumers.’
    • ‘These boreal forest warblers all exploited that resource while it was abundant.’
    • ‘On the coast, the maritime villas that exploited the fishing resources of the lagoons and ponds still played a central role.’
    • ‘The interim government believes it can double oil production by 2010 if it exploits existing facilities and develops new fields.’
    • ‘With 13.3 million inhabitants in 1600, Italy's forest resources were exploited to their limit.’
    • ‘Regions in the east are able to exploit natural resources such as forestry to provide for prison labour.’
    • ‘Can we stop over-using and exploiting the world's resources?’
    • ‘One of the primary objectives of modern economic theory and free markets is to exploit finite resources at ever-quicker rates.’
    • ‘Currently, manufacturers are exploiting the natural resources with very low efficiency.’
    • ‘The coastal State exercises over the continental shelf sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring it and exploiting its natural resources.’
    • ‘It also pays special attention to exploiting marine resources and marketing marine products.’
    • ‘Some other countries exploiting their mineral resources are setting aside money to prepare for the day when the oil runs out.’
    • ‘Still it is a national resource and should be exploited to the full.’
    utilize, make use of, put to use, use, use to good advantage, put to good use, turn to good use, make the most of, capitalize on, benefit from, turn to account, draw on
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  • 2Make use of (a situation) in a way considered unfair or underhand.

    ‘the company was exploiting a legal loophole’
    • ‘Worse still, when disasters occur they are ruthlessly exploited to advance the globalisation agenda.’
    • ‘Employers have exploited the situation to end strikes and press ahead with plans to cut jobs and working conditions.’
    • ‘I will not exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience.’
    • ‘Spam is one of the areas that the underworld of the internet are successfully exploiting for commercial gain.’
    • ‘That would eliminate some of the loopholes exploited by large, wealthy factory farms.’
    • ‘They are cynically exploiting the fears and concerns that exist over the question of the immigrants.’
    • ‘With five minutes left the visitors had exploited the situation to score two converted tries to cut RI's lead to eight points.’
    • ‘The security hole could be exploited by malicious hackers or a future internet worm.’
    • ‘There is nothing, it seems, that can't be exploited for political profit.’
    • ‘The nationwide store has ruthlessly exploited a legal loophole.’
    • ‘Instead, by exploiting a tragic situation, I think they are trying to score cheap miles, and I firmly believe this will backfire in their faces.’
    • ‘Sporting activities must be organised so that they are for leisure and not exploited for profit or voyeurism.’
    • ‘He feels commercial interests are exploiting the situation and selling parents the idea that they can buy things to substitute for time with their children.’
    • ‘Class hatreds were exploited on an unparalleled scale.’
    • ‘The worm exploits a vulnerability in the software which was first warned about in May 2000.’
    • ‘Many private developers exploit the situation where the demand exceeds available space.’
    • ‘"They have created the conditions that could be exploited by the terrorists, " he declared.’
    • ‘Study your opponent, keep your defenses up and systematically exploit weaknesses.’
    • ‘Software defects can be exploited on scale far larger than defects in physical products.’
    • ‘These people also know how to exploit legal loopholes and can often avoid official inspections.’
    1. 2.1 Benefit unfairly from the work of (someone), typically by overworking or underpaying them.
      ‘these workers are at particular risk of being exploited in the workplace’
      • ‘The ruling class is obnoxiously greedy, despoiling our planet and exploiting the people on it with a few bare restraints provided by popular pressure over the last century.’
      • ‘He yesterday lashed out at his treatment by the media, implicitly accusing them of exploiting him for financial gain.’
      • ‘Nobody complained that the international capitalists were exploiting the workers.’
      • ‘We know he has made more than £100,000 from exploiting these people, but we suspect he has made a lot more than this.’
      • ‘The salt pan workers are exploited and often suffer from poor health but get no protection since it is an unorganised industry.’
      • ‘The effect was to make it easier for the ruling class to exploit the peasants who formed the bulk of the population.’
      • ‘You are British workers, also exploited by the capitalists.’
      • ‘The illegal status lets employers get away with exploiting the workers through lesser wages.’
      • ‘Just because we can't see people being exploited, doesn't mean we aren't supporting this unjust system.’
      • ‘Thirdly, the reason why the capitalist can exploit workers is simply because they have power over them.’
      • ‘There have been numerous complaints of outdated labour laws leading to unscrupulous employers exploiting workers.’
      • ‘Believed to have about 350 members, they see the EU as exploiting ordinary people and are against a European Constitution.’
      • ‘To prevent workers being exploited, employee rights have had to be translated into eight different languages.’
      • ‘Motorists are being exploited primarily for revenue purposes, rather than for traffic safety reasons.’
      • ‘The capitalist system exploits people everywhere.’
      • ‘Another participant focused on the manner in which men exploited women at the work place.’
      • ‘Politicians have exploited these unfortunate people for their own ends.’
      • ‘Both groups are exploiting illegal immigrants for profit.’
      • ‘Then we have some members saying to us that a small number of employers are exploiting their workers.’
      • ‘I feel sorry for the elderly who are exploited in this manner.’
      take advantage of, make use of, abuse, impose on, prey on, play on, misuse, ill-treat, bleed, suck dry, squeeze, wring, enslave, treat unfairly, withhold rights from
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Pronunciation /ˈɛksplɔɪt/
  • 1A bold or daring feat.

    ‘despite a series of colourful exploits, his agents obtained little intelligence of value’
    • ‘The exploits, adventures and successes of the Mayo ladies over the past few years have unquestionably raised the profile of the sport.’
    • ‘It has every thing the TV audience need, dramatic scenery, heroic exploits, a stage of passion and colour.’
    • ‘McRae remains one of rallying's most insistent draws, fans still flushed by thoughts of his daring exploits behind the wheel.’
    • ‘Florence Nightingale is widely hailed as the founder of today's nursing profession, especially for her exploits in the Crimean War.’
    • ‘In 1999 he realized that, for all his daring exploits, he had been keeping his back turned on the biggest adventure of all: building a company from scratch.’
    • ‘This reality series captures the exploits and escapades of life on the road with the world's most unusual troupe of performers, The Jim Rose Circus.’
    • ‘They romanticized aviation and grabbed the headlines with their daring exploits.’
    • ‘This series looks at the exploits of six great Gaelic football and hurling teams beginning with the Down football team of 1960 / 61.’
    • ‘At the same time, they were, and still are, fascinated by the exploits of secret agents and counterspies.’
    • ‘History is sprinkled with tales of the exploits, achievements and leadership of young adults, even teenagers.’
    • ‘Astoundingly, death did not come sooner and through different means, given her daring exploits in America's leading big tops.’
    • ‘Here, their daring exploits will never be forgotten.’
    • ‘In mythology and legend, a man, often of divine ancestry, is endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for his bold exploits, and favored by the gods.’
    • ‘Here I was transported back to the mid 18th century, reading about the exploits of Southern African adventurers, when, lo and behold, our great city gets a mention.’
    • ‘Although he looks back at his own daring exploits with remarkable detachment, he realises how captivating they are to other people.’
    • ‘It was from here that Captain James Cook, a local lad, set sail around the globe, inflaming every schoolboy's passion for adventure with his daring exploits.’
    • ‘Only the movies and the daring exploits of aviation's record seekers seemed to offer any escape from the harsh realities of daily life.’
    • ‘Though they claim he supports the insurgency because of his ideological opposition to the occupation, they soon lapse into talk of daring criminal exploits.’
    • ‘In all the years I have been undertaking various exploits and adventures in numerous countries around the globe there is one thing I have never done.’
    • ‘How did his wife feel about his adventurous exploits in the air after yesterday?’
    feat, deed, act, adventure, stunt, escapade, manoeuvre, enterprise, undertaking, move
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  • 2A software tool designed to take advantage of a flaw in a computer system, typically for malicious purposes such as installing malware.

    ‘if someone you don't know tweets you a link, it's either spam, an exploit, or probably both’
    • ‘No matter what platform you're running, security software will help remove known exploits and block newly emerging ones.’
    • ‘The compromised website hosted an exploit which then allowed malware to be installed on these laptops.’
    • ‘Several web sites have already been disseminating malware using this exploit, triggering it with a mixture of HTML, JavaScript and Flash.’
    • ‘A hacker finds a software exploit and you have to change all your passwords, or your personal data gets leaked.’
    • ‘Once the website is visited, the modified exploits will affect the system software and additional malware will get deployed.’
    • ‘Exploit bundles are usually installed in hosting servers.’


Middle English: from Old French esploit (noun), based on Latin explicare ‘unfold’ (see explicate). The early notion of ‘success, progress’ gave rise to the sense ‘attempt to capture’, ‘military expedition’, hence the current sense of the noun. Verb senses (mid 19th century) are from modern French exploiter.