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an exercise in (something)

An action, activity, or behavior that is certain to have a particular outcome. They've filed a lawsuit to block the deal from happening, but most legal experts agree that it's just an exercise in futility. To me, working in this industry is an exercise in patience and determination. You won't make it here if you want to see immediate results. I'll never fly during the holidays again. Crowds, long lines, weather-related issues—it's just an exercise in the absurd.
See also: an, exercise

an exercise in futility

An action, activity, or behavior that has no chance whatsoever of being successful. A: "I'm going to ask if the boss will increase our budget." B: "It's an exercise in futility, if you ask me. She has never increased a project's budget in the 15 years I've been working here." They've filed a lawsuit to block the deal from happening, but most legal experts agree that it's just an exercise in futility. Yeah, don't even bother trying to get the school to reimburse you, it's an exercise in futility.
See also: an, exercise

exercise (one) in (something)

To help one to practice something. Will you exercise me in these chemistry terms before the tomorrow's test?
See also: exercise

exercise for the reader

A subject, debate, or other matter that is not decided or dealt with directly by the author or presenter, but rather is left up to the judgment or interpretation of the observer, reader, or addressee. The report merely details the spending practices of the parties concerned; whether or not these payments were dubious in nature is left as an exercise for the reader. The politician's speech made broad references to invigorating the economy with practical, no-nonsense measures—what such measures might be, though, was left as an exercise for the reader.
See also: exercise, for, reader

exercise power over (someone or something)

To assert control or authority over someone or something. Even though we're adults now, my sister still tries to exercise power over me like I'm a little kid.
See also: exercise, over, power

exercised about (something)

Upset or agitated because of something. We can't tell Mom we broke the vase—she'll get totally exercised about it! Before you get exercised about it, let me tell you exactly what happened.
See also: exercise

the object of the exercise

The main point, focus, or goal of an activity or task. If you're an investor, holding onto stocks that damage your portfolio defeats the object of the exercise. If you're trying to improve your health, not just shed a few quick pounds, the object of the exercise should be to develop a diet that is sustainable in the long term.
See also: exercise, object, of
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

exercise power over

someone or something and exercise control over someone or something; exercise influence over someone or something to have someone or something under one's control or influence. The dictator exercised power over the island for many years. See if you can exercise some control over your appetite. I wish I could exercise some influence over the committee.
See also: exercise, over, power

exercise (someone or an animal) in

something to give someone or an animal practice in doing something; to drill someone or an animal at something. Please exercise the dog in obedience routines. I hope you will exercise me in my Spanish irregular verbs.
See also: exercise

exercised about something

Fig. upset about something. Mary: You lost a hundred dollars playing poker!? Bill: Now don't get exercised about it. I can't tell Ma I'm failing English class. She gets exercised about every dumb thing I do.
See also: exercise

*firm hand

Fig. [someone's] strong sense of management; a high degree of discipline and direction. (*Typically: exercise ~; have ~; need ~; take ~; use~.) I had to use a firm hand with Perry when he was a child. He had a problem with discipline.
See also: firm, hand
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

the object of the exercise

the main point or purpose of an activity.
See also: exercise, object, of
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
The stock options are granted to advisory board members, consultants and employees of the Company and are exercisable for a period of 10 years.
The stock options are exercisable for a five-year period and the grant is subject to vesting provisions in accordance with the Company's Stock Option Plan.
Vena will grant 4,016,913 warrants to Trafigura, such warrants being exercisable as to 2,272,727 warrants exercisable into common shares at $0.33 for a period of 18 months post closing and 1,744,186 warrants exercisable into common shares at $0.43 for a period of 24 months post closing.
The rights also will be exercisable if a person or group already owning 20% or more of Barnes & Noble common stock, without board approval, acquires any additional shares, other than pursuant to Barnes & Noble's compensation or benefit plans.
Treasury regulations section 20.2056(b)-5(f)(6) indicates that to meet these standards, a surviving spouse must show that he or she "is entitled to the income until the trust terminates or has the right, exercisable in all events, to have the principal distributed to her at any time during her life."
The contract consists of one base year and four one-year options, exercisable at the discretion of the government.
The remaining 20% interest in IMN is subject to put and call options exercisable in 2008 or thereafter.
As consideration for the assignment, Peplin will make an initial payment of $225,000 plus 200,000 ordinary shares and 250,000 options exercisable at 79 cents per share.
The NQSOs have no readily ascertainable fair market value (FMV) at grant and are not exercisable until January 1 of year 4.
422(b)(5), listing eligibility conditions for an ISO, declares that an ISO cannot by its terms be transferable by the employee "otherwise than by will or the laws of descent and distribution" and that the ISO must be "exercisable, during his lifetime, only by [the employee]." Therefore, absent Harold's death, Maude cannot exercise his ISOs without eliminating ISO eligibility.
Each ISO granted under a plan must be issued within 10 years of the adoption of the plan, and an ISO must not be exercisable after the 10th anniversary of the date of grant.(3)
That's normally true only for performance-based stock options, which are exercisable only if certain conditions are met.
The rights will be exercisable if a person or group acquires beneficial ownership of 20% or more of the company's stock, or commences a tender or exchange offer that would result in 20% or more ownership.