ex·​act·​ing ig-ˈzak-tiŋ How to pronounce exacting (audio)
: tryingly or unremittingly severe in making demands
: requiring careful attention and precision
exactingly adverb
exactingness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for exacting

onerous, burdensome, oppressive, exacting mean imposing hardship.

onerous stresses being laborious and heavy especially because distasteful.

the onerous task of cleaning up the mess

burdensome suggests causing mental as well as physical strain.

burdensome responsibilities

oppressive implies extreme harshness or severity in what is imposed.

the oppressive tyranny of a police state

exacting implies rigor or sternness rather than tyranny or injustice in the demands made or in the one demanding.

an exacting employer

Examples of exacting in a Sentence

He has very exacting standards. he was shocked when his normally exacting supervisor complimented him on a job well done
Recent Examples on the Web The director, known for executing his creative vision in an exacting and onerous manner, even flew down to Delhi to visit garment warehouses with the costume designer, individually picking out ornate fabrics to dress his characters. Astha Rajvanshi, TIME, 2 May 2024 While not the first of its kind, CRISPR was by far the most exacting and easiest genome-editing tool to wield inside the cells of any living organism. Megan Molteni, STAT, 21 Feb. 2024 Though few made more than $12,000 per year during his tenure as publisher, the staff writers received one of the most exacting and intense educations in Washington journalism. Timothy R. Smith, Washington Post, 24 Nov. 2023 Helbers’s clothes are an exacting and very special achievement. Rachel Tashjian, Washington Post, 12 Sep. 2023 Like an aircraft carrier, this atomic bomb had to use linear space in a very exacting way in order to reach the right velocity to initiate the nuclear reaction. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 1 Aug. 2023 With an unwavering commitment to purity, this product is subjected to rigorous testing by independent laboratories, exceeding the most exacting criteria. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 22 July 2023 But their simplicity didn’t make them—or the artist’s process—any less exacting. Camille Okhio, ELLE Decor, 26 May 2023 Midsize banks also need to brace for more exacting oversight from the Fed and the F.D.I.C., which criticized themselves in reports released last week about the bank failures in March. Lauren Hirsch, New York Times, 1 May 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'exacting.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


from present participle of exact entry 1

First Known Use

1634, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of exacting was in 1634

Dictionary Entries Near exacting

Cite this Entry

“Exacting.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exacting. Accessed 19 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


ex·​act·​ing ig-ˈzak-tiŋ How to pronounce exacting (audio)
: making many or difficult demands upon a person
an exacting task
an exacting teacher
exactingly adverb
exactingness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on exacting

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!