Exercise is physical activity, like an exercise class, or the act of practicing anything — like people who exercise caution while crossing the street.

If your dad tells you to exercise restraint in dealing with your brother who just broke your computer, he hasn't suggested that you tie your brother up — here exercise means "use" or "practice." This might remind you of the writing exercises your teacher gave you: practice in forming letters. In many kinds of exercise, the results come from doing something over and over — just ask anyone who exercises, or works out.

Definitions of exercise
  1. noun
    the activity of exerting your muscles in various ways to keep fit
    “the doctor recommended regular exercise
    “he did some exercising
    synonyms: exercising, physical exercise, physical exertion, workout
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    cardiopulmonary exercise
    exercise intended to strengthen the circulatory system
    gymnastic exercise
    (gymnastics) an exercise designed to develop and display strength and agility and balance (usually performed with or on some gymnastic apparatus)
    kick up
    raising the feet backward with the hands on the ground; a first movement in doing a handstand
    exercise set, set
    several exercises intended to be done in series
    anaerobic exercise, bodybuilding, muscle building, musclebuilding
    exercise that builds muscles through tension
    calisthenics, callisthenics
    light exercises designed to promote general fitness
    isometric exercise, isometrics
    muscle-building exercises (or a system of musclebuilding exercises) involving muscular contractions against resistance without movement (the muscles contracts but the length of the muscle does not change)
    isotonic exercise
    exercise in which opposing muscles contract and there is controlled movement (tension is constant while the lengths of the muscles change)
    Kegel exercises, pubococcygeus exercises
    exercises for women designed to improve the ability to hold urine
    stretch, stretching
    exercise designed to extend the limbs and muscles to their full extent
    arm exercise
    exercise designed to strengthen the arm muscles
    back exercise
    exercise designed to strengthen the back muscles
    leg exercise
    exercise designed to strengthen the leg muscles
    neck exercise
    exercise designed to strengthen the neck muscles
    stomach exercise, tummy crunch
    an exercise designed to strengthen the abdominal muscles
    a system of exercises practiced as part of the Hindu discipline to promote control of the body and mind
    a gymnastic exercise performed on the rings when the gymnast supports himself with both arms extended horizontally
    a gymnastic exercise on the parallel bars in which the body is lowered and raised by bending and straightening the arms
    double leg circle
    a gymnastic exercise performed on the pommel horse when the gymnast (with legs together) swings his legs in a circle while alternating hands on the pommels
    grand circle
    a gymnastic exercise performed on the horizontal bar by swinging around it with the body fully extended
    the act of supporting yourself by your hands alone in an upside down position
    a gymnastic exercise performed on the rings or horizontal bar or parallel bars when the gymnast's weight is supported by the arms
    kip, upstart
    a gymnastic exercise performed starting from a position with the legs over the upper body and moving to an erect position by arching the back and swinging the legs out and down while forcing the chest upright
    long fly
    a gymnastic exercise involving a long leap from a vaulting horse
    a gymnastic exercise performed on the pommel horse when the gymnast moves his legs as the blades of scissors move
    a gymnastic exercise performed with a leg on either side of the parallel bars
    jump rope
    a child's game or a cardiopulmonary exercise in which the player jumps over a swinging rope
    exercise that conditions the body
    aerobic exercise, aerobics
    exercise that increases the need for oxygen
    weightlift, weightlifting
    bodybuilding by exercise that involves lifting weights
    weight gaining
    bodybuilding that increases muscle mass and body weight
    running at a jog trot as a form of cardiopulmonary exercise
    yawning and stretching (as when first waking up)
    power walking
    a form of cardiopulmonary exercise consisting of rapid walking accompanied by vigorous swinging of the arms
    press-up, pushup
    an arm exercise performed lying face to the floor and pushing the body up and down with the arms
    chin-up, pull-up
    an arm exercise performed by pulling yourself up on a horizontal bar until your chin is level with the bar
    knee bend, squat, squatting
    exercising by repeatedly assuming a crouching position with the knees bent; strengthens the leg muscles
    leg curl, leg curling
    an exercise designed to strengthen the flexor muscles of the leg
    leg extensor
    an exercise designed to strengthen the extensor muscles of the leg
    a stomach exercise in which a person sits up from a supine position without using the arms for leverage
    hatha yoga
    yogic exercises (popular in the West) that combine difficult postures (which force the mind to withdraw from the outside world) with controlled breathing
    type of:
    effort, elbow grease, exertion, sweat, travail
    use of physical or mental energy; hard work
  2. noun
    systematic training by multiple repetitions
    synonyms: drill, practice, practice session, recitation
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    fire drill
    an exercise intended to train people in duties and escape procedures to be followed in case of fire
    manual, manual of arms
    (military) a prescribed drill in handling a rifle
    military drill
    training in marching and the use of weapons
    (psychology) a form of practice; repetition of information (silently or aloud) in order to keep it in short-term memory
    dry run, rehearsal
    a practice session in preparation for a public performance (as of a play or speech or concert)
    brushup, review
    practice intended to polish performance or refresh the memory
    (American football) practice play between a football team's squads
    sparring with an imaginary opponent (for exercise or training)
    target practice
    practice in shooting at targets
    close-order drill
    (military) military drill of troops in standard marching (shoulder-to-shoulder)
    drill on a barracks square
    dress rehearsal
    a full uninterrupted rehearsal in costumes shortly before the first performance
    an uninterrupted rehearsal
    a first perfunctory rehearsal of a theatrical production in which actors read their lines from the script and move as directed
    rub up
    a review that refreshes your memory
    type of:
    grooming, preparation, training
    activity leading to skilled behavior
  3. noun
    a task performed or problem solved in order to develop skill or understanding
    synonyms: example
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    type of:
    a task assigned for individual study
  4. verb
    do physical exercise
    synonyms: work out
    work, work out
    give a workout to
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    limber up, loosen up, warm up
    make one's body limber or suppler by stretching, as if to prepare for strenuous physical activity
    exercise in order to prepare for an event or competition
    do gymnastics, roll and turn skillfully
    strengthen, tone, tone up
    give a healthy elasticity to
    press, weight-lift, weightlift
    lift weights
    execute a roll, in tumbling
  5. verb
    give a workout to
    “Some parents exercise their infants”
    “this puzzle will exercise your mind”
    synonyms: work, work out
    work out
    do physical exercise
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    warm up
    cause to do preliminary exercises so as to stretch the muscles
    cause to become limber
    type of:
    put to work, work
    cause to work
  6. verb
    learn by repetition
    synonyms: drill, practice, practise
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    type of:
    learn, read, study, take
    be a student of a certain subject
  7. verb
    carry out or practice; as of jobs and professions
    synonyms: do, practice, practise
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    shamanise, shamanize
    practice shamanism
  8. noun
    the act of using
    synonyms: employment, usage, use, utilisation, utilization
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    the exercise of a profession
    utilization or exercise
    abuse, misuse
    improper or excessive use
    development, exploitation
    the act of making some area of land or water more profitable or productive or useful
    the act of processing used or abandoned materials for use in creating new products
    application, practical application
    the act of bringing something to bear; using it for a particular purpose
    the use of methods that do not cause long-term harm to the environment or deplete natural resources
    the practice of giving expert advice within a particular field
    the practice of beautifying the face and hair and skin
    dental practice
    the practice of dentistry
    law practice
    the practice of law
    medical practice
    the practice of medicine
    the practice of an optometrist
    private practice
    the practice of a profession independently and not as an employee
    drug abuse, habit, substance abuse
    excessive use of drugs
    land development
    making an area of land more useful
    water development, water program, water project
    making an area of water more useful
    bottle collection
    collecting bottles for reuse
    wrong use or application
    engineering, technology
    the practical application of science to commerce or industry
    overexploitation, overuse, overutilisation, overutilization
    exploitation to the point of diminishing returns
    capitalisation, capitalization
    the act of capitalizing on an opportunity
    commercialisation, commercialization
    the act of commercializing something; involving something in commerce
    the act of providing electricity
    unitisation, unitization
    the joint development of a petroleum resource that straddles territory controlled by different companies
    the use or practice of witchcraft
    type of:
    any specific behavior
  9. verb
    put to use
    synonyms: exert
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    type of:
    apply, employ, use, utilise, utilize
    put into service; make work or employ for a particular purpose or for its inherent or natural purpose
  10. noun
    (usually plural) a ceremony that involves processions and speeches
    “academic exercises
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    commencement, commencement ceremony, commencement exercise, graduation, graduation exercise
    an academic exercise in which diplomas are conferred
    type of:
    ceremonial, ceremonial occasion, ceremony, observance
    a formal event performed on a special occasion
Commonly confused words

exercise / exorcise

While both words can refer to ways to get rid of something — belly fat, Satan — that's where the similarities end. Exercise is physical activity but to exorcise is to cast out evil.

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