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

  • n. An act of employing or putting into play; use: the free exercise of intellect; the exercise of an option.
  • n. The discharge of a duty, function, or office.
  • n. Activity that requires physical or mental exertion, especially when performed to develop or maintain fitness: took an hour of vigorous daily exercise at a gym.
  • n. A task, problem, or other effort performed to develop or maintain fitness or increase skill: a piano exercise; a memory exercise.
  • n. An activity having a specified aspect: an undertaking that was an exercise in futility.
  • n. A program that includes speeches, presentations, and other ceremonial activities performed before an audience: graduation exercises.
  • transitive v. To put into play or operation; employ: Proceed, but exercise caution.
  • transitive v. To bring to bear; exert: "The desire to be re-elected exercises a strong brake on independent courage” ( John F. Kennedy).
  • transitive v. To subject to practice or exertion in order to train, strengthen, or develop: exercise the back muscles; exercise the memory.
  • transitive v. To put through exercises: exercise a platoon. See Synonyms at practice.
  • transitive v. To carry out the functions of: exercise the role of disciplinarian.
  • transitive v. To execute the terms of (a stock option, for example).
  • transitive v. To absorb the attentions of, especially by worry or anxiety.
  • transitive v. To stir to anger or alarm; upset: an injustice that exercised the whole community.
  • intransitive v. To take exercise.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any activity designed to develop or hone a skill or ability.
  • n. Physical activity intended to improve strength and fitness.
  • v. To set into action or practice.
  • v. To perform any activity designed to develop or hone a skill or ability.
  • v. To take action, enforce.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of exercising; a setting in action or practicing; employment in the proper mode of activity; exertion; application; use; habitual activity; occupation, in general; practice.
  • n. Exertion for the sake of training or improvement whether physical, intellectual, or moral; practice to acquire skill, knowledge, virtue, perfectness, grace, etc.
  • n. Bodily exertion for the sake of keeping the organs and functions in a healthy state; hygienic activity.
  • n. The performance of an office, a ceremony, or a religious duty.
  • n. That which is done for the sake of exercising, practicing, training, or promoting skill, health, mental, improvement, moral discipline, etc.; that which is assigned or prescribed for such ends; hence, a disquisition; a lesson; a task
  • n. That which gives practice; a trial; a test.
  • intransitive v. To exercise one's self, as under military training; to drill; to take exercise; to use action or exertion; to practice gymnastics.
  • transitive v. To set in action; to cause to act, move, or make exertion; to give employment to; to put in action habitually or constantly; to school or train; to exert repeatedly; to busy.
  • transitive v. To exert for the sake of training or improvement; to practice in order to develop; hence, also, to improve by practice; to discipline, and to use or to for the purpose of training
  • transitive v. To occupy the attention and effort of; to task; to tax, especially in a painful or vexatious manner; harass; to vex; to worry or make anxious; to affect; to discipline.
  • transitive v. To put in practice; to carry out in action; to perform the duties of; to use; to employ; to practice

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To put in practice; carry out in action; perform the functions or duties of: as, to exercise authority or power; to exercise an office.
  • To put in action; employ actively; set or keep in a state of activity; make use of in act or procedure: as, to exercise the body, the voice, etc.; to exercise the reason or judgment; exercise your skill in this work.
  • To train or discipline by means of exertion or practice; put or keep in practice; make, or cause to make, specific trials: as, to exercise one's self in music; to exercise troops.
  • To give mental occupation or exercise to; cause to think earnestly or anxiously; make uneasy: as, he is exercised about his spiritual state.
  • To impart as an effect; put forth as a result or consequence; communicate; exert.
  • Synonyms To apply.
  • To drill.
  • To try, afflict, pain, annoy.
  • To use action or exertion; exert one's self; take exercise: as, to exercise for health or amusement.
  • To conduct a religious exercise, as the exposition of Scripture.
  • n. A carrying on or out in action; active performance or fulfilment; a physical or mental doing or practising: used of the continued performance of the functions, or observance of the requirements, of the subject of the action: as, the exercise of an art, a trade, or an office; the exercise of religion, of patience, etc.
  • n. Voluntary action of the body or mind; exertion of any faculty; practice in the employment of the physical or mental powers: used absolutely, or with reference to the reflex effect of the action upon the actor: as, to take exercise in the open air; corporeal or spiritual exercise; violent, hurtful, pleasurable, or healthful exercise.
  • n. A specific mode or employment of activity; an exertion of one or more of the physical or mental powers; practice in the use of a faculty or the faculties, as for the attainment of skill or facility, the accomplishment of a purpose, or the like: as, an exercise in horsemanship; exercises of the memory; outdoor exercises.
  • n. A disciplinary task or formulary; something done or to be done for the attainment of proficiency or skill; a set or prescribed performance for improvement, or an example or study for improving practice: as, school exercises; an exercise in composition or music; exercises for the piano or violin.
  • n. A performance or procedure in general; a definite or formal act for a purpose; specifically, a feature or part of a program or round of proceedings: as, the exercises of a college commencement, or of a public meeting; graduating exercises.
  • n. A spiritual or religious action or effort; an act or procedure of devotion or for spiritual improvement; religious worship, exhortation, or the like.
  • n. Specifically— Among the Puritans, a church service or week-day sermon: still occasionally used.
  • n. Family worship. [Scotch.]
  • n. Formerly, in Scotland, the critical explication of a passage of Scripture, at a meeting of presbytery, by a teaching presbyter, succeeded by a specification of the doctrines contained in it by another, both discourses being judged of, and censured, if necessary, by the rest of the brethren.
  • n. Formerly, also, the presbytery.
  • n. A disciplinary spiritual experience or trial; spiritual agitation.

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

  • n. the activity of exerting your muscles in various ways to keep fit
  • v. put to use
  • n. (usually plural) a ceremony that involves processions and speeches
  • n. the act of using
  • n. a task performed or problem solved in order to develop skill or understanding
  • v. give a workout to
  • v. carry out or practice; as of jobs and professions
  • v. learn by repetition
  • v. do physical exercise
  • n. systematic training by multiple repetitions


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

Middle English, from Old French exercice, from Latin exercitium, from exercitus, past participle of exercēre, to exercise : ex-, ex- + arcēre, to restrain.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin exercitium



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  • JM gets a lot of exercise by pushing his luck.

    July 4, 2011

  • Physical exercise is good for you. I know that I should do it daily but my body doesn't want me to do too much, so I have worked out this program of strenuous activities that do not require physical exercise.You are invited to use my program without charge.

    1) Beating around the bush

    2) Jumping to conclusions

    3) Climbing the walls

    4) Swallowing my pride

    5) Passing the buck

    6) Throwing my weight around

    7) Dragging my heels

    8) Pushing my luck

    9) Making mountains out of molehills

    10) Hitting the nail on the head

    11) Wading through paperwork

    12) Bending over backwards

    13) Jumping on the bandwagon

    14) Balancing the books

    15) Running around in circles

    16) Eating crow

    17) Tooting my own horn

    18) Climbing the ladder of success

    19) Pulling out the stops

    20) Adding fuel to the fire

    21) Opening a can of worms

    22) Putting my foot in my mouth

    23) Starting the ball rolling

    24) Going over the edge

    25) Picking up the pieces

    January 17, 2010