Definition of exercise in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɛksəsʌɪz/


1 [mass noun] Activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness: exercise improves your heart and lung power [count noun]: loosening-up exercises
More example sentences
  • Sport enriches life's experience, physical exercise improves health, and in this country we need far more investment in both.
  • An hour's worth of prime time exercise greatly improves heart health.
  • She said swimming was an ideal form of exercise for improving health and helping people control their weight
physical activity, movement, exertion, effort, work;
a workout, training, drilling;
gymnastics, sports, games, PE (physical education), PT (physical training), aerobics, step aerobics, jogging, running, circuit training, aquarobics, callisthenics, isometrics, eurhythmics, keep-fit, dancercise, bodybuilding
informal physical jerks
informal, dated one's daily dozen
trademark boxercise
2An activity carried out for a specific purpose: an exercise in public relations
More example sentences
  • Earlier this year the council undertook a public consultation exercise regarding modernisation proposals.
  • The rebranding exercise could cost as much as £30m.
  • Yet the whole affair was a displacement activity: an exercise in self-deception.
2.1 [count noun] A task set to practise or test a skill: there are exercises at the end of each book to check comprehension
More example sentences
  • This Is Only A Test Simulations and tabletop exercises help CSOs practice and plan the best response for worst-case scenarios.
  • If necessary, people should practise some eye protection exercises or use eyedrops if their eyes are tired, Yu said.
  • After a multitude of prolonged tests and diving exercises, he was put back on active duty.
task, piece of work, problem, assignment, piece of school work, piece of homework;
Music  étude
2.2 (often exercises) A military drill or training manoeuvre: training exercises with the Kuwaiti army
More example sentences
  • A severe fuel shortage has limited the country's ability to conduct military training exercises.
  • This is borne out by the results of research and experience in military training exercises.
  • They were sent to a Royal Marines training camp for military exercises to stimulate team spirit, foster leadership skills and sharpen their ability to make swift decisions.
manoeuvres, operations;
war games, field day
2.3 (exercises) North American Ceremonies: Bar Mitzvah exercises
More example sentences
  • He returned to the topic of education in an address he gave in various versions at graduation exercises in the 1860s.
  • When I finished high school, I didn't go to graduation exercises, I went straight to serve in the army.
3 [mass noun] The use or application of a faculty, right, or process: the exercise of authority
More example sentences
  • His main burden seemed to be that in a just society there should be more room for the free exercise of religion in relation to higher learning.
  • The section is commonly described as involving the exercise of a discretion.
  • But that would be a matter for that Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction.
use, utilization, employment;
practice, putting into practice, application, operation, exertion, performance, implementation, discharge, accomplishment


[with object]
1Use or apply (a faculty, right, or process): control is exercised by the Board anyone receiving a suspect package should exercise extreme caution
More example sentences
  • The banks stress they only exercise this right in extreme circumstances and would only take money from an account that was in credit.
  • The court is not exercising jurisdiction over the merits of the dispute.
  • In so doing, it is argued, he was properly exercising his discretion under subsection 4.
use, employ, make use of, utilize, avail oneself of, put to use;
practise, apply, bring to bear, bring into play, implement, exert, wield
2 [no object] Engage in physical activity to sustain or improve health and fitness: she still exercised every day
More example sentences
  • How often are you able to exercise or do physical activity?
  • It's important to keep on exercising to sustain improvements.
  • Parents should be observant in their children's activities; playing, exercising, reading, etc.
work out, do exercises, keep fit, train, drill, engage in physical activity
informal pump iron
2.1 [with object] Exert (part of the body) to promote or improve muscular strength: raise your knee to exercise the upper leg muscles
More example sentences
  • Not everyone can or wants to spend time exercising their body.
  • I have to say it is indicative of a certain section of society who spend so much time exercising their bodies and so little their minds.
  • Beyond exercising his body, he has been working on his New York accent too for the show.
2.2 [with object] Cause (an animal) to take exercise: she exercised her dogs before breakfast
More example sentences
  • You can always tell when somewhere suburban is pretty because it's full of people exercising their dogs and looking the other way when they foul the grass.
  • A Sunday newspaper reported that the incident happened in July when Anne, 52, and her husband were exercising the dog.
  • The attack occurred when the claimant was off duty and exercising the dog on the fields adjacent to his house.
3Occupy the thoughts of; worry or perplex: Macdougall was greatly exercised about the exchange rate
More example sentences
  • But a recent flier suggests that the publisher might finally be a little exercised about the competition.
  • In his most recent works, the artist negotiates, afresh, the counterpoint between city and landscape, home and world, that has long exercised him.
  • If he was exercised about a threat, why not go meet it?
worry, trouble, concern, make anxious, bother, disturb, perturb, perplex, puzzle, distress, occupy someone's thoughts, preoccupy, prey on someone's mind, gnaw at, lie heavy on, burden, make uneasy, agitate
informal bug, make someone scratch their head, do someone's head in
archaic pother



Pronunciation: /ɛksəˈsʌɪzəb(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • By means of the Royal Powers Act 1953, parliament did provide that, ‘when the Queen is personally present in Australia, any power under an Act exercisable by the governor-general may be exercised by the Queen’.
  • In this sense, self-determination was a right exercisable by the people who arbitrarily found themselves lumped into an ascertainable territory: it was not a right belonging to ethnic groups.
  • It is often said that the degree of compassion and principle that are exercisable in politics are inversely related to proximity to power, rather than which side you're on.


Middle English (in the sense 'application of a right'): via Old French from Latin exercitium, from exercere 'keep busy, practise', from ex- 'thoroughly' + arcere 'keep in or away'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ex¦er|cise

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