The Meaning of Exude: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of exude? This guide will give you all of the information you need on the word exude, including its definition, usage, origin, example sentences, and more!

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What does the English language word exude mean?

According to Merriam-Webster and Dictionary, the word exude, pronounced “ɪgˈzud,” has multiple different meanings. Exude can be used as an intransitive verb that means to ooze, leak out gradually, or undergo diffusion, but it can also be used as a transitive verb to mean that one is displaying something conspicuously or abundantly. According to Grammarly, the difference between a transitive and an intransitive verb is that a transitive verb only makes sense if it is performing an action on some object or participle. An intransitive verb makes sense even when there is no noun that the verb is performing an action on.

For example, if one wanted to sue the word exude as a transitive verb, they could say that a wound is “exuding pus.” In this scenario, the thing that is being exuded is the pus. The word exude can also be used in a more figurative sense. Here, it would be considered an intransitive verb. Someone could say that someone else “exudes confidence.” The aforementioned confidence is not physically being exuded onto anything, and therefore, the verb exude is an intransitive verb.

What is the etymology of the word exude?

According to Etymonline, the word exude has been used to mean “to ooze or secrete” since the 1570s. The word exude finds its roots from the Latin exudare and Latin exsudare, which mean “to ooze out like sweat.”

The word exude uses the prefix ex-. Etymonline states that this word-forming element is Latin, and means “out of” or “from.” In the context of the word exude, something is coming out of something else, whether that is literal – like pus from a wound – or figurative – like confidence from a person. 

The other root word in the word exude is the Latin sudare, which means “to sweat.” This verb comes from the Latin word sudor, which also means “sweat.” The word exude has been used in a transitive sense since 1755. Related words include exudate, exudation, and exudes, exuded, or exuding, which are different verb tenses of the word exude.

-Ude and -tude are other related word-forming suffixes. Etymonline states that these are often used when one is forming an abstract noun for an adjective, such as magnitude or multitude. This comes from the French -ude and the Latin -udo or -udin. These suffixes are the equivalent of the suffix -ness. While exude ends in “ude,” this suffix is not in effect. Exude is a verb, not a noun.

The word exude is very similar to the word emanate. These both have Latin roots. Emanate comes from the Latin emanatus, which is the past participle form of the LAtin verb emanare meaning to flow out, per Etymonline.

How can the word exude be used in a sentence?

Since the word exude can be used both literally and figuratively as a transitive or intransitive verb, this means that it can be used in a variety of different contexts. Below are two examples of different ways the word exude can be used. In this first example, Rhett and Dani are performing a frog dissection in their biology class.

Rhett: Dani, you slice it, I can’t do it. I’m gonna barf.

Dani: Okay… I’m making small openings. Ew!

Rhett: What? I covered my eyes!

Dani: It’s exuding some sort of liquid, and an awful smell.

Rhett: Eyes closed, nose open. I’m aware.

Here, Dani uses exude to describe the liquid and smell that are emanating from the frog. In the next example, Dani and Rhett are eating lunch and watch a group of cheerleaders go by.

Rhett: I wish I could be more like them.

Dani: I mean, anyone can try out for cheerleading. You can’t touch your toes, but there’s nothing stopping you from trying out.

Rhett: No, not cheerleading. I just wish I was like them, figuratively. They exude confidence. It’s like it’s so easy for them.

Dani: First of all, I’m sure it’s not easy. Fake it til you make it! You don’t need to put on a tiny skirt and a ponytail to be confident. The sky’s the limit!

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word exude?

There are many different ways that one can describe something that is giving off a certain quality, or something that is physically seeping out of something else. These words are called synonyms for the word exude. A synonym is a word or phrase that means the same thing as another word or phrase. People might choose to use synonyms because they want to expand their vocabulary or avoid repeating themselves. This list of synonyms for the word exude is provided by Thesaurus.

  • Display
  • Emit
  • Emanate
  • Excrete
  • Seep
  • Give off
  • Exhibit
  • Show
  • Manifest
  • Expel
  • Sweat
  • Ooze
  • Issue
  • Trickle
  • Radiate
  • Leak
  • Weep
  • Bleed
  • Pass
  • Flow out
  • Discharge
  • Percolate
  • Give forth
  • Evacuate
  • Secrete
  • Throw off

If one wanted to describe something that was the opposite of exude, they could use an antonym. For the word exude, an antonym would be any word that described hiding or concealing something, rather than giving it off. This list of antonyms for the word exude is also provided by Thesaurus.

  • Conceal
  • Hise
  • Bury
  • Cahe
  • Camouflage
  • Cloak
  • Cover
  • Curtain
  • Disguise
  • Dissemble
  • Hole up
  • Ditch
  • Mask
  • Obscure
  • Ensconce
  • Protect
  • Shelter
  • Screen
  • Smuggle
  • Shield
  • Stash
  • Suppress
  • Shroud
  • Tuck away
  • Withhold
  • Stifle
  • Not give away
  • Lie low
  • Stow away
  • Keep secret

Overall, the word exude means to give off. This word can be used either as a transitive or intransitive verb, and can be used literally or figuratively. In the literal sense, the word exude means to ooze or secrete, whereas in the figurative sense it means to radiate some quality.