ex·​act·​ly | \ ig-ˈzak-(t)lē How to pronounce exactly (audio) \

Definition of exactly

1a : in a manner or measure or to a degree or number that strictly conforms to a fact or condition it's exactly 3 o'clock these two pieces are exactly the same size
b : in every respect : altogether, entirely that was exactly the wrong thing to do not exactly what I had in mind
2 : quite so used to express agreement

Examples of exactly in a Sentence

The levers need to be exactly positioned. we will meet at exactly six o'clock
Recent Examples on the Web One man slept on a sidewalk in the rain with trash, food and filth littered around him on West 43rd Street this past Sunday morning, exactly two blocks from where New York City drops its iconic New Year’s Eve ball in Times Square. Fox News, 14 Sep. 2022 For someone who decides to blow the whistle with Whistleblower Aid’s help, the first step is to contact the organization—which isn’t exactly straightforward. WIRED, 14 Sep. 2022 The steep drop is the result of previous governments having pursued exactly the opposite of today’s agenda. Omid Khazani, Los Angeles Times, 14 Sep. 2022 But each of these pledges also intensifies the uncertainty about what exactly is being pledged. David Frum, The Atlantic, 14 Sep. 2022 Except Kendra Scott wasn’t exactly luxury, at least not in the way that Rodeo shoppers were accustomed to. Rory Satran, WSJ, 14 Sep. 2022 However, these quotes were not present in the Chinese readout of the meeting, which raises the question of exactly how formally China is willing to support Russia, as its invasion of Ukraine shows no sign of ending. Luke Mcgee, CNN, 14 Sep. 2022 Not exactly: There is no scientific consensus on whether and when fetuses begin to feel pain, and experts say that the 15-week threshold is not based on medical evidence. Grace Segers, The New Republic, 14 Sep. 2022 Last season was a mess, but in the preceding offseason, the Jazz didn’t exactly make proper moves to address their problems, to bolster the team’s chances for more success, to improve belief. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 13 Sep. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of exactly

1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for exactly

exact entry 2 + -ly entry 2

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Time Traveler for exactly

Time Traveler

The first known use of exactly was in 1612

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Dictionary Entries Near exactly



exact opposite

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Statistics for exactly

Last Updated

17 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Exactly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exactly. Accessed 27 Sep. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on exactly

Nglish: Translation of exactly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exactly for Arabic Speakers


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