Definition of exert in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Apply or bring to bear (a force, influence, or quality)

    ‘the moon exerts a force on the Earth’
    ‘exerting influence over the next generation’
    • ‘At several points in the novel, she exerts tremendous control over her family.’
    • ‘My bed is not just calling seductively to me, it's exerting some strange force of similar qualities to a high level tractor beam.’
    • ‘Art exerts a profound influence on the style of life, the mode, range, and direction of perception.’
    • ‘He soon came to exert considerable influence on surgical practice and hospital policy at Harrogate.’
    • ‘Silsden exerted considerable pressure but they had left it too late as they failed to score for the first time in over a year.’
    • ‘Across the Maritimes, scores of wharves are being left to crumble, as the power of the sea exerts its inexorable force.’
    • ‘In addition, the amount of money available exerts a considerable influence on the number of securities in a portfolio.’
    • ‘The law enforcement forces already on the ground did not manage to exert sufficient influence.’
    • ‘This is peer pressure, societal pressure and all the other social norms exerting their influence on you.’
    • ‘In that way, she has been able to spend more time with her grandchildren and exert a beneficial influence.’
    • ‘Strong, varying magnetic fields were already known to exert an upward force on objects in their path.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, the organization still exerts considerable influence.’
    • ‘I was glad to be up early, and happy to finish before the sun exerted its full influence on what was set to be a hot day.’
    • ‘The loss of conviction has exerted a powerful influence over American and Western foreign policy.’
    • ‘A magnet can exert a force on a moving charged particle, but it cannot change the particle's kinetic energy.’
    • ‘The fountain exerts a hypnotic influence on children who are irresistibly drawn to remove their shoes and socks and go paddling in the water.’
    • ‘Be more loving towards children as they will exert a positive influence on you.’
    bring to bear, apply, bring into play, exercise, employ, use, make use of, utilize, deploy
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  • 2exert oneselfMake a physical or mental effort.

    ‘he needs to exert himself to try to find an answer’
    • ‘Medirlan took the stairs at a run, reveling in the physical exertion even though he exerted himself physically every day as a guard.’
    • ‘They show up every day to sweat and exert themselves and strive to improve their skills and game play, when more than half of them are well aware that they will not even be sitting on the bench come this time next season.’
    • ‘However, if you're sick or you've been physically exerting yourself, you need sleep.’
    • ‘Parties generally require actual effort, and who wants to exert themselves in this age of modern convenience?’
    • ‘The wife claims that she could be doing something else although she has not overly exerted herself in applying for housekeeping jobs.’
    • ‘Other than her walks to various news-stands and marketplaces, which she tried to limit, Lydia did not exert herself to physical exhaustion.’
    • ‘She spends as much time as she can with the children but cannot teach or play with them because her throat hurts if she exerts herself.’
    • ‘Roughly 159 million people, more than half the population of the United States, now live in cities with unhealthy levels of pollution, so anyone exerting themselves outdoors should consider what they're breathing.’
    • ‘The doctor says that she should not be allowed to exert herself mentally and physically and she should not be allowed to witness tragic scenes.’
    • ‘The new government should win the public trust by exerting itself to attain tangible results in its efforts to translate the promise into action.’
    make an effort, try hard, strive, endeavour, apply oneself, do one's best, do all one can, do one's utmost, give one's all, make every effort, spare no effort, be at pains, put oneself out
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Mid 17th century (in the sense ‘perform, practice’): from Latin exserere ‘put forth’, from ex- ‘out’ + serere ‘bind’.