exact

verb
ex·​act | \ ig-ˈzakt How to pronounce exact (audio) \
exacted; exacting; exacts

Definition of exact

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to call for forcibly or urgently and obtain from them has been exacted the ultimate sacrifice— D. D. Eisenhower
2 : to call for as necessary or desirable

exact

adjective

Definition of exact (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : exhibiting or marked by strict, particular, and complete accordance with fact or a standard
2 : marked by thorough consideration or minute measurement of small factual details

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Other Words from exact

Verb

exactable \ ig-​ˈzak-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce exact (audio) \ adjective
exactor or less commonly exacter \ ig-​ˈzak-​tər How to pronounce exact (audio) \ noun

Adjective

exactness \ ig-​ˈzak(t)-​nəs How to pronounce exact (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for exact

Verb

demand, claim, require, exact mean to ask or call for something as due or as necessary. demand implies peremptoriness and insistence and often the right to make requests that are to be regarded as commands. demanded payment of the debt claim implies a demand for the delivery or concession of something due as one's own or one's right. claimed the right to manage his own affairs require suggests the imperativeness that arises from inner necessity, compulsion of law or regulation, or the exigencies of the situation. the patient requires constant attention exact implies not only demanding but getting what one demands. exacts absolute loyalty

Adjective

correct, accurate, exact, precise, nice, right mean conforming to fact, standard, or truth. correct usually implies freedom from fault or error. correct answers socially correct dress accurate implies fidelity to fact or truth attained by exercise of care. an accurate description exact stresses a very strict agreement with fact, standard, or truth. exact measurements precise adds to exact an emphasis on sharpness of definition or delimitation. precise calibration nice stresses great precision and delicacy of adjustment or discrimination. makes nice distinctions right is close to correct but has a stronger positive emphasis on conformity to fact or truth rather than mere absence of error or fault. the right thing to do

Do you exact or extract revenge?

Verb

The verb exact (as in, "exacting revenge" or "exacting a promise") is not as commonly encountered as the adjective exact, (as in "an exact copy" or "exact measurements"). Sometimes people will mistakenly use the more common verb extract when they really want exact. Extract can refer to removing something by pulling or cutting or to getting information from someone who does not want to give it. While both words refer to getting something they are used in different ways. You extract a tooth, but you exact revenge.

Did you know?

Verb

Exact derives from a form of the Latin verb exigere, meaning "to drive out, to demand, or to measure." (Another descendant of exigere is the word exigent, which can mean "demanding" or "requiring immediate attention.") Exigere, in turn, was formed by combining the prefix ex- with the verb agere, meaning "to drive." Agere has been a very prolific source of words for English speakers; it is the ancestor of agent, react, mitigate, and navigate, just to name a few. Incidentally, if you are looking for a synonym of the verb exact, you could try demand, call for, claim, or require.

Examples of exact in a Sentence

Verb They would not rest until they had exacted revenge. He was able to exact a promise from them. Adjective Those were his exact words. The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation. We don't know the exact nature of the problem. Predicting the path of hurricanes is not an exact science. The police have an exact description of the killer. Please take the most exact measurements possible. He is very exact in the way he solves a problem.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But the voracious demand for her time may exact a toll. Dan Snierson, EW.com, 14 July 2021 Heat can also exact a psychological toll on people who don’t have preexisting mental health conditions. Washington Post, 3 July 2021 Administration officials have vowed for weeks to exact costs from Moscow. Olivia Gazis, CBS News, 15 Apr. 2021 The film picks up where the series left off, jumping between two interconnected timelines with the de la Mora siblings on a mission to reclaim a family treasure in the present, and their parents attempting to exact revenge on an enemy in the 1970s. Suyin Haynes, Time, 23 June 2021 Before getting too far ahead of itself, Texas will have to exact some revenge on Mississippi State and advance to the Bracket 2 winners’ game on Tuesday. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, 19 June 2021 His only means to exact a price were rockets, launched from Gaza. Bernard Avishai, The New Yorker, 13 May 2021 And Trump's desire to exact revenge on anyone who dares to criticize him is the stuff of legend. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 15 Apr. 2021 Rosas has said the main instrument to exact change on the roster is via trade, especially in a market that traditionally does not attract top free agents. Chris Hine, Star Tribune, 25 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The exact opposite of this is true for Roth contributions. orlandosentinel.com, 8 July 2021 Write one memo saying one thing, write another memo saying the exact opposite. Errol Morris, Star Tribune, 6 July 2021 But Owaynat’s devotion to basketball began way before that fateful basketball game, in the ‘90s to be exact. Amaris Encinas, The Arizona Republic, 6 July 2021 It’s definitely not for everyone—it’s too bold for that, a series of flavor bazookas, the exact polar opposite of banality—but those who like it tend to do so with the enthusiasm of a zealot. Jason O'bryan, Robb Report, 1 July 2021 Today was nearly the exact opposite of yesterday as Asia rebounded. Brendan Ahern, Forbes, 22 June 2021 This thick fog is the early-summer equivalent—and the exact opposite—of lake-effect snow. Brittany Trang, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 12 June 2021 But that’s the exact opposite of what these experts thought after taking their first look at the virus. Nicholas Wade, WSJ, 4 June 2021 Sadly, that is the exact opposite of what Sutton does. Brian Moylan, Vulture, 26 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exact.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of exact

Verb

1564, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1533, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for exact

Verb

Middle English exacten "to require as payment," borrowed from Latin exāctus, past participle of exigere "to drive out, achieve, enforce payment of or the performance of (a task), require, inquire into, examine" from ex- ex- entry 1 + agere "to drive (cattle), be in motion, do, perform" — more at agent

Adjective

borrowed from Latin exāctus, from past participle of exigere "to drive out, achieve, require, inquire into, examine, measure" — more at exact entry 1

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Last Updated

25 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Exact.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exact. Accessed 25 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for exact

exact

verb

English Language Learners Definition of exact

 (Entry 1 of 2)

formal
: to demand and get (something, such as payment or revenge) especially by using force or threats
used in phrases like exact a terrible toll and exact a high/heavy price to say that something has caused a lot of suffering, loss, etc.

exact

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of exact (Entry 2 of 2)

: fully and completely correct or accurate
: very careful and accurate

exact

adjective
ex·​act | \ ig-ˈzakt How to pronounce exact (audio) \

Kids Definition of exact

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: completely correct or precise : accurate an exact copy the exact time

Other Words from exact

exactly adverb
exactness noun

exact

verb
exacted; exacting

Kids Definition of exact (Entry 2 of 2)

: to demand and get by force or threat They exacted terrible revenge.

More from Merriam-Webster on exact

Nglish: Translation of exact for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exact for Arabic Speakers

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