Definitions

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

Etymologies

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)

Examples

  • The only control I will try to exert is to keep doing them.

    Something Old, Something New « Write Anything

  • And clearly, the military force a country can exert is only one component of its power.

    Matthew Yglesias » Are We Doomed?

  • That exert from the housekeeping magazine is hilarious ... too funny.

    Why Fishing is America's Cultural Compass

  • Much of the fascination that the book continues to exert is owing to its context, and none of the editions I possess, including Paul Foote's 1966 translation and now this very deft version by Hugh Aplin, has failed to include quite a deal of background material without which Mikhail Lermontov's brief, intricate masterpiece is difficult to appreciate.

    A Doomed Young Man

  • But I suggest that our weight in world affairs and the influence we can exert is greater than our numbers would indicate.

    Canada in 1953

  • Otherwise, we may need to take Timberlake up on his word and exert a little extra A-list peer pressure!

    FOXNews.com

  • a man was able to exert, that is, how many foot-pounds of work a man could do in a day.

    The Principles of Scientific Management

  • Speakers of the major non-English languages are in positions to exert influence on the evolution of Global English purely on the basis of their numbers.

    The English Is Coming!

  • After the American Revolution, as we have seen, doctors and political leaders believed that for the new nation to flourish, its citizens needed to exert strict control over their bodies.

    A Renegade History of the United States

  • Furthermore, he would likely think that to the extent religion does exert an influence, it is on the left and not the right.

    American Grace

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