The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Exercise \Ex"er*cise\, n. [F. exercice, L. exercitium, from
exercere, exercitum, to drive on, keep, busy, prob. orig., to
thrust or drive out of the inclosure; ex out + arcere to shut
up, inclose. See Ark.]
1. The act of exercising; a setting in action or practicing;
employment in the proper mode of activity; exertion;
application; use; habitual activity; occupation, in
exercise of the important function confided by the
constitution to the legislature. --Jefferson.
O we will walk this world,
Yoked in all exercise of noble end. --Tennyson.
2. Exertion for the sake of training or improvement whether
physical, intellectual, or moral; practice to acquire
skill, knowledge, virtue, perfectness, grace, etc. "Desire
of knightly exercise." --Spenser.
An exercise of the eyes and memory. --Locke.
3. Bodily exertion for the sake of keeping the organs and
functions in a healthy state; hygienic activity; as, to
take exercise on horseback; to exercise on a treadmill or
in a gym.
[1913 Webster +PJC]
The wise for cure on exercise depend. --Dryden.
4. The performance of an office, a ceremony, or a religious
Lewis refused even those of the church of England .
. . the public exercise of their religion.
To draw him from his holy exercise. --Shak.
5. That which is done for the sake of exercising, practicing,
training, or promoting skill, health, mental, improvement,
moral discipline, etc.; that which is assigned or
prescribed for such ends; hence, a disquisition; a lesson;
a task; as, military or naval exercises; musical
exercises; an exercise in composition; arithmetic
The clumsy exercises of the European tourney.
He seems to have taken a degree, and performed
public exercises in Cambridge, in 1565. --Brydges.
6. That which gives practice; a trial; a test.
Patience is more oft the exercise
Of saints, the trial of their fortitude. --Milton.
Exercise bone (Med.), a deposit of bony matter in the soft
tissues, produced by pressure or exertion.