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


(ɪgˈzɜr ʃən)

1. vigorous action or effort.
2. an effort: a great exertion to help others.
3. exercise, as of power or faculties.
4. an instance of this.
syn: See effort.



(See also OVERWORK.)

blood, sweat, and tears Adversity, difficulty; suffering, affliction; strenuous, arduous labor. The now common expression is a truncated version of that used by Winston Churchill in addressing the House of Commons shortly after his election as Prime Minister.

I say to the House, as I said to the Ministers who have joined this Government, I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. (May 13, 1940)

The phrase gained additional currency when it was adopted as the name of a music group popular in the late 1960s.

buckle down To adopt a no-nonsense attitude of determination and effort; to set aside frivolous concerns or distractions and concentrate on the task at hand. Buckle down to dates from 1865, and appears to be but a variation on the earlier buckle to or buckle one-self to, both of which probably have their antecedents in the act of buckling on armor to prepare for battle.

cleanse the Augean stables See REFORMATION.

elbow grease Strenuous physical effort or exertion; hard physical work or manual labor; vigorous and energetic rubbing, muscle. This self-evident expression dates from at least 1672. A hint of its original meaning is provided by the definition found in A New Dictionary of the Terms Ancient and Modern of the Canting Crew (1700): “a derisory term for sweat.”

get one’s teeth into To work with vigor and determination; to come to grips with a task or problem; also, sink one’s teeth into. This expression may be derived from the greater effort required to chew food than to sip it. Similarly, one who gets his teeth into something of substance is directing a great deal of physical or mental effort into completing the task.

in there pitching Putting forth one’s best effort; working energetically and diligently; directing one’s energy and talent toward a specific goal. Current since the early 1900s, this colloquial Americanism derives from the game of baseball, specifically the role of the pitcher.

Everybody on the system is in there pitching, trying to save a locomotive or piece of locomotive. (Saturday Evening Post, June 26, 1943)

put one’s shoulder to the wheel To strive, to exert one-self, to make a determined effort, to work at vigorously. The reference is to the teamster of yesteryear who literally put his shoulder to the wheel of his wagon when it got stuck in a rut or in mud in order to help his horses pull it out.

work up to the collar To labor diligently; to perform strenuous tasks energetically. A beast of burden is not considered to be working at its utmost capacity unless its collar is straining against its neck. This expression sees little use today.

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.exertion - use of physical or mental energyexertion - use of physical or mental energy; hard work; "he got an A for effort"; "they managed only with great exertion"
toil, labor, labour - productive work (especially physical work done for wages); "his labor did not require a great deal of skill"
struggle - strenuous effort; "the struggle to get through the crowd exhausted her"
difficulty, trouble - an effort that is inconvenient; "I went to a lot of trouble"; "he won without any trouble"; "had difficulty walking"; "finished the test only with great difficulty"
least effort, least resistance - the least effortful way to do something
straining, strain - an intense or violent exertion
exercise, exercising, physical exercise, physical exertion, workout - the activity of exerting your muscles in various ways to keep fit; "the doctor recommended regular exercise"; "he did some exercising"; "the physical exertion required by his work kept him fit"
pull - a sustained effort; "it was a long pull but we made it"
diligence, application - a diligent effort; "it is a job requiring serious application"
overkill - any effort that seems to go farther than would be necessary to achieve its goal
supererogation - an effort above and beyond the call of duty
overexertion - excessive exertion; so much exertion that discomfort or injury results
detrition, friction, rubbing - effort expended in moving one object over another with pressure


1. effort, action, exercise, struggle, industry, labour, trial, pains, stretch, strain, endeavour, toil, travail (literary), elbow grease (facetious) panting from the exertion of climbing the stairs
2. use, exercise, application, employment, bringing to bear, utilization the exertion of legislative power


2. The use of energy to do something:
Informal: elbow grease.
3. Energetic physical action:
بَذْل جُهْد، إجْهادجُهْد، مَجْهود
áreynsla; viîleitnibeiting, neyting


[ɪgˈzɜːʃən] Nesfuerzo m; (= overdoing things) → esfuerzo m excesivo, trabajo m excesivo


n (= physical effort) → effort m exertions
npl (= efforts) → efforts mpl


(= effort)Anstrengung f; by one’s own exertionsdurch eigene Anstrengungen
(of force, strength)Anwendung f, → Einsatz m; (of authority)Aufgebot nt, → Einsatz m; (of influence, power, control)Ausübung f; the exertion of force/pressure on somethingdie Ausübung von Kraft/Druck auf etw (acc); rugby requires strenuous physical exertionRugby fordert unermüdlichen körperlichen Einsatz; after the day’s exertionsnach des Tages Mühen


[ɪgˈzɜːʃn] nsforzo


(igˈzəːt) verb
1. to bring forcefully into use or action. He likes to exert his authority.
2. to force (oneself) to make an effort. Please exert yourselves.
exˈertion (-ʃən) noun
1. the act of bringing forcefully into use. the exertion of one's influence.
2. (an) effort. They failed in spite of their exertions.


n esfuerzo; physical — esfuerzo físico
References in classic literature ?
Could swim like a duck, paddled round the castle till he came to a little door guarded by two stout fellows, knocked their heads together till they cracked like a couple of nuts, then, by a trifling exertion of his prodigious strength, he smashed in the door, went up a pair of stone steps covered with dust a foot thick, toads as big as your fist, and spiders that would frighten you into hysterics, MIss March.
The one idea that had ever got through poor Marek's thick head was that all exertion was meritorious.
On the contrary, there was an air of neglect about his person, like that which might have proceeded from great and recent exertion, which he had not yet found leisure to repair.
As a general rule, Providence seldom vouchsafes to mortals any more than just that degree of encouragement which suffices to keep them at a reasonably full exertion of their powers.
Dimmesdale, on the night of his vigil, had given her a new theme of reflection, and held up to her an object that appeared worthy of any exertion and sacrifice for its attainment.
By great exertion, Tashtego at last succeeded in planting one iron; but the stricken whale, without at all sounding, still continued his horizontal flight, with added fleetness.
Clare wouldn't raise his hand, if every one of them walked over him, and I--you see how cruel it would be to require me to make the exertion.
Presently the hide-and-seek frolicking began, and Tom and Becky engaged in it with zeal until the exertion began to grow a trifle wearisome; then they wandered down a sinuous avenue holding their candles aloft and reading the tangled web-work of names, dates, post-office addresses, and mottoes with which the rocky walls had been frescoed (in candle-smoke).
Rebecca had been busy for weeks before, trying to make a present for each of the seven persons at Sunnybrook Farm, a somewhat difficult proceeding on an expenditure of fifty cents, hoarded by incredible exertion.
Well, (smiling,) I hope it may be allowed that if compassion has produced exertion and relief to the sufferers, it has done all that is truly important.
She could consult with her brother, could receive her sister-in-law on her arrival, and treat her with proper attention; and could strive to rouse her mother to similar exertion, and encourage her to similar forbearance.
At this period of my life, my heart far oftener swelled with thankfulness than sank with dejection: and yet, reader, to tell you all, in the midst of this calm, this useful existence--after a day passed in honourable exertion amongst my scholars, an evening spent in drawing or reading contentedly alone--I used to rush into strange dreams at night: dreams many-coloured, agitated, full of the ideal, the stirring, the stormy--dreams where, amidst unusual scenes, charged with adventure, with agitating risk and romantic chance, I still again and again met Mr.