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

  • noun The act or an instance of exerting, especially a strenuous effort.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The act of exerting; the act of putting into motion or action; effort; a striving: as, an exertion of strength or power; an exertion of the limbs or of the mind.
  • noun Synonyms Endeavor, attempt, trial.

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

  • noun The act of exerting, or putting into motion or action; the active exercise of any power or faculty; an effort, esp. a laborious or perceptible effort.

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

  • noun An expenditure of physical or mental effort.

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

  • noun use of physical or mental energy; hard work


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Hence he has found it practically the greatest economy of mental labor to work vigorously when he is disposed to do so, and to refrain from exertion, so far as possible, _when it is felt to be an exertion_. "

    The Education of American Girls

  • In our waking hours a perpetual voluntary exertion, of which we are unconscious, attends all our new trains of ideas, whether those of imagination or of perception; which by comparing them with our former experience preserves the consistency of the former, by rejecting such as are incongruous; and adds to the credibility of the latter, by their analogy to objects of our previous knowledge: and this exertion is attended with pleasurable sensation.

    Note XIII

  • This small journey seems quite a formidable expedition to me, and that sort of cowardly feeling of incapacity and disinclination for the smallest effort or unusual exertion is the growth of a two years 'habit over that of thirty preceding ones, and is a greater sign of age than white hairs, wrinkles, or loss of teeth.

    Further Records, 1848-1883: A Series of Letters

  • But all exertion is disagreeable; one feels content to sit and compose chapters of novels in one's whirling brain, without attempting to commit the fleeting kaleidoscopic images to paper.

    Insulinde: Experiences of a Naturalist's Wife in the Eastern Archipelago

  • I didn't think that the word exertion was a very good one in

    A Jolly Fellowship

  • We ought to be resigned and cheerful in a dependent situation, when we cannot possibly provide for ourselves; but a willingness to burthen others, when we can help it by a little exertion, is not resignation – it is mere pride and indolence.

    The Mother's Book

  • When this pleasurable sensation rises into a painful one, and the customs of society will not permit us to laugh aloud, some other violent voluntary exertion is used instead of it to alleviate the pain.

    Canto II

  • "The unparalleled rapidity with which he rode from Cape Town to Grahamstown, a distance of 600 miles, accomplishing it in less than six days; his indefatigable and most able exertion from the moment of his arrival to expel the savage enemy from the ground their unexpected and treacherous invasion had gained – to afford protection and support to the inhabitants; to restore confidence and to organize the armed population, and combine the resources of the country – have been beyond all praise, and justly entitle him to the grateful acknowledgments of the Colony and of the Commander-in-Chief."

    The Autobiography of Liuetenant-General Sir Harry Smith, Baronet of Aliwal on the Sutlej, G. C. B.

  • “Many; I have found it necessary to change frequently — a change of instructors is often beneficial to the interests of a school; it gives life and variety to the proceedings; it amuses the pupils, and suggests to the parents the idea of exertion and progress.”

    The Professor, by Charlotte Bronte

  • Suddenly, quite suddenly, the idea of exertion, of any effort whatever, was become odious to him ... odious and unthinkable.

    Ultima Thule


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