part of speech: noun

definition 1: activity done to keep the body or mind strong or to make them stronger.

  • Swimming is good exercise.
  • Reading is great mental exercise.
  • Her doctor told her that she needed to do more exercise.

synonyms: athletics, practice, workout

definition 2: an act of putting into practice; use.

  • When teaching young children, the exercise of patience is important.

synonyms: application, employment, use

definition 3: (often plural) a ceremony.

  • We cheered for Melissa at her graduation exercises.

definition 4: a particular way to use your muscles to make them strong.

  • Do you know a good exercise for strengthening the back muscles?


part of speech: verb

inflections: exercises, exercising, exercised

definition 1: to put into practice or make use of.

  • He failed to exercise his right to vote.

synonyms: apply, employ, exert, make use of

definition 2: to do physical exercise or activity.

  • I exercise in the gym every morning.

derivation: exerciser (n.)

Word History

Exercise is from a Latin word that means “to keep busy” or “drive on.” In the English spoken in the early 1300s, “exercise” referred to mental effort. By the late 1300s, its meaning had broadened to include physical activity.