from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To put to use or effect; put forth: exerted all my strength to move the box.
  • transitive v. To bring to bear; exercise: exert influence.
  • transitive v. To put (oneself) to strenuous effort: exerted ourselves mightily to raise funds.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to put in vigorous action
  • v. to make use of, to apply, especially of something non-material

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To thrust forth; to emit; to push out.
  • transitive v. To put force, ability, or anything of the nature of an active faculty; to put in vigorous action; to bring into active operation
  • transitive v. To put forth, as the result or exercise of effort; to bring to bear; to do or perform.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To put forth; thrust out; push out; emit.
  • To put forth, as strength, force, or ability; put in action; bring into active operation: as, to exert the strength of the body; to exert powers or faculties.
  • To put forth as the result of effort; do or perform.
  • To put forth effort or energy.
  • See exserted.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. put to use
  • v. make a great effort at a mental or physical task
  • v. have and exercise


Latin exserere, exsert-, to put forth, stretch out : ex-, ex- + serere, to join.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin exsertus, past participle of exsero. (Wiktionary)


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