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

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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 What exactly does the Chief Bobber Dark Horse say about the man or woman who rides it? Dan Neil, WSJ, 16 July 2021 Because no autopsy was ever performed, exactly what Morrison had in his system on July 3, 1971, will never be known. Jordan Runtagh, PEOPLE.com, 16 July 2021 Such accounts are often a way of making clear exactly what happened -- with a thin veneer of deniability for non-partisan military officers. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 15 July 2021 But that’s exactly what longtime civic leader Malin Burnham has in his sights. Diane Bell Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 July 2021 But that is exactly what the four founders of Ocean Fathoms were doing. Steve Lopez Columnist, Los Angeles Times, 15 July 2021 Hyaluronic acid and retinol do deliver results—but what exactly those results are might still be confusing. Cristina Mueller, Glamour, 15 July 2021 That is exactly what is going to happen to the members of the Texas House of Representatives. Fox News Staff, Fox News, 15 July 2021 At least one packet seemed to be exactly what Culley had paid for. Chris Heath, The Atlantic, 15 July 2021

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.

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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

19 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Exactly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exactly. Accessed 29 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for exactly



English Language Learners Definition of exactly

used to stress that something is accurate, complete, or correct
: in a correct or precise way : in a way that agrees completely with what is needed
: in every way

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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