The soon-to-be father exalted God as he prayed to Him for his wife in labor to bear him a son. He exulted when the midwife informed him that his prayers had been heard.

The words exalt and exult are orthographic neighbors; meaning they have the same length but differ by a single letter. Even though these words have the same parent language, they differ widely in their etymologies, meaning, and subsequently, uses. Exalt is derived from Latin ‘exaltare’, meaning ‘raise above’. On the contrary, exult can be traced back to Latin ‘exsultare’, meaning ‘jump up’. Both of these etymological translations are not literal but figurative.

As an adjective, the word ‘exalt’ means to hold something or someone in high regard or respect. As a verb, it means to elevate someone’s status or position to a higher authority. On the contrary, the word ‘exult’ refers to the action of showing or feeling triumph while enthusiastically celebrating it in a physical way like jumping and leaping. Keep reading till the end to learn more about these words.

Exalt vs exult – definition, uses, and examples

Definition of exalt

Exalt is pronounced as ‘uhg-zawlt’. It is an adjective and is used to refer to someone with great respect, esteem, and/or admiration. It is also used as a verb to glorify and venerate someone or something, including a deity, to show one’s subservience and devotion. Additionally, exalt refers to the action of elevating or promoting someone’s rank or authority as well. Synonyms of the verb exalt include extol, glorify and revere. Exalt is a transitive verb and thus can only be used with a direct object; for instance, ‘exalt the Lord or exalt the queen’.

The present participle of exalt is exalting whereas the past and past participle is exalted.

Example sentences of exalt

  • The countrymen still exalt their heroes who returned from the war and brought them victory and freedom.

In the first sentence, exalt is used in the first form to show that the countrymen (subject) still continue to regard and respect their heroes (object).

  • The priest exalted Jesus Christ and prayed to him to have mercy on the poor boy’s soul.

Here, exalt is used in the meaning of venerating or glorifying a deity. It shows that Jesus (object) was glorified by the priest (subject) in a prayer to have mercy on a poor boy.

  • By acquiring and expanding its nuclear arsenal, Pakistan has exalted its position against regional foes.

In the last sentence, exalt means to ‘elevate someone’s rank or status’. The sentence talks about a leading nation in nuclear weaponry ‘Pakistan’ which is the object of the sentence. The sentence means that the country has arisen in competition and authority against competing countries by growing its nuclear power.

Definition of exult

Exult is pronounced as ‘uhg-zuhlt’. It is also a verb and is used for showing or feeling extreme glee or elation, usually accompanied by a physical expression of joyful hopping, leaping, or similar movements. For instance, if someone is dancing or springing here and there because they’re happy, they are exulting. Synonyms of exult include rejoice and jubilate.

As opposed to exalt, which always requires a direct object to make sense, exult is an intransitive verb; thus, it does not require an object at all. For instance, the ‘boy exulted’ or ‘the family exulted’ are complete sentences without an object. The present participle of exult is exulting whereas the past and past participle of exult is exulted.

Example sentences of exult

  • ‘Let us exult together,’ his brother said upon hearing the news of his sibling’s promotion.

Here, exult is used to show that the sibling is compelling his fellow siblings to rejoice with him because he acquired a promotion.

  • The video of the pilot exulting at the airport after landing his first airplane went viral on social media.

Here, the present participle of exult is used to show that the pilot was jumping for joy at the airport because he had landed his first aircraft.

  • After spending hours looking at the screen and waiting for the result, the boy exulted as the screen showed that he had been accepted to varsity.

Lastly, the past participle of exult is used to denote the boy’s (subject) jubilation because he had been accepted at the university of his choice. You will notice that none of the sentences mentioned above have an object.


Exalt and exult are verbs that stemmed from different words of the same language – Latin. Exalt (adjective form) refers to someone with great respect. As a verb it means appraising, acclaiming, or regarding someone with great respect and fealty. It also refers to promoting or elevating someone’s rank or authority. Exult refers to open celebrating or enjoying, accompanied by joyful leaping and springing. The idiom jump for joy is synonymous with exult. It is important to remember that exalt is transitive, while exult is not. So, there must be an object, someone or something, to exalt but nothing and no one to exult. As a mnemonic, link the –alt in exalt with altitude to remember that it means to regard with high respect or elevate in rank. Similarly, memorize the word undulant, meaning up and down motion, for the ‘u’ in exult to remember that it’s synonymous with dancing or leaping with joy.