from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An act or deed, especially a brilliant or heroic one. synonym: feat.
  • noun Computers A program or system designed to take advantage of a particular error or security vulnerability in computers or networks.
  • transitive verb To employ to the greatest possible advantage.
  • transitive verb To make use of selfishly or unethically.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Achievement; performance; usually, a deed or act of some exceptional or remarkable kind; a conspicuous performance; more especially, a spirited or heroic act; a great or noble achievement: as, the exploits of Alexander, of Cæsar, of Wellington.
  • noun Advantage; benefit.
  • noun Synonyms Deed, Feat, etc. See feat.
  • To achieve; accomplish.
  • To make complete use of; work up; bring into play; utilize; cultivate.
  • Specifically To employ or utilize selfishly; turn to one's own advantage without regard to right or justice; make subservient to self-interest.
  • To make research or experiment; explore.
  • To work (as a mine, etc.); to turn to industrial use.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A deed or act; especially, a heroic act; a deed of renown; an adventurous or noble achievement.
  • noun obsolete Combat; war.
  • noun Recent To utilize; to make available; to get the value or usefulness out of
  • noun Recent Hence: To draw an illegitimate profit from; to speculate on; to put upon.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A heroic or extraordinary deed.
  • noun An achievement.
  • noun computing A program or technique that exploits a vulnerability in other software.
  • verb transitive To use for one’s own advantage.

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

  • verb work excessively hard
  • verb use or manipulate to one's advantage
  • noun a notable achievement
  • verb draw from; make good use of


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

[Middle English, from Old French esploit, from Latin explicitum, neuter past participle of explicāre, to unfold; see explicate.]


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  • Contronymic in the sense of a heroic act vs. exploitation (for selfish ends).

    January 9, 2007

  • As a noun this can also refer to a vulnerability discovered in a computer system (or a method of accessing or triggering that vulnerability).

    July 9, 2009

  • The other day I was talking to my mom at work and she used this word . Apparentlty one of the workers said that my mom likes to exploit people and not pay them enough.. My momis only the GM so she has no control over pay !

    October 25, 2010