ex·​act·​ly | \ ig-ˈzak-(t)lē \

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

The show's writer Sera Gamble recently told Metro.co.uk that Season 2 of You won't follow the second book in the series—Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes—exactly. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Everything You Need to Know About You Season 2," 13 Jan. 2019 Jenny’s house—and its casual, coastal feel—was exactly what that particular episode’s featured couple was looking for. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, ""How A 'Property Brothers' Episode Changed My Life"," 12 Jan. 2019 The producers of the 91st Oscars ceremony, Donna Gigliotti and Glenn Weiss, have exactly one previous hostless Academy Awards to look to for inspiration: the 1989 Oscars. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "The Oscars Likely Won't Have a Host for the First Time Since 1989," 10 Jan. 2019 PRoD's most compelling impact is in showing us exactly what could play out, for fans and creators alike, if the online economy falls headlong into a complicated tangle of content, money, popularity, and sense of inclusion. Sam Machkovech And Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Films for the discerning nerd: Ars picks the best of 2018," 27 Dec. 2018 There's no word on what exactly will change this summer (hopefully Joe Keery keeps his signature Steve Harrington hairstyle), but the show had previously revealed the title of every episode in season three. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Netflix Confirmed a Season Three Premiere Date for "Stranger Things"," 1 Jan. 2019 Staring at the sky and dreaming is exactly what their mom wants them to do. Jennifer Blaise Kramer, House Beautiful, "How Pops Of Color Transformed These Classic White Rooms," 17 Dec. 2018 So what, exactly, is the story fascists are spinning? Sean Illing, Vox, "A Yale philosopher on fascism, truth, and Donald Trump.," 15 Dec. 2018 Now there are about a zillion pro–female fuzz memes circulating on Tumblr, and the question implied in all of them seems to be: Why, exactly, are women supposed to be perpetually smooth and stubble-free? Maya Singer, Vogue, "To Shave, or Not to Shave? How a New Generation of Women Are Embracing Body Hair," 10 Dec. 2018

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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Statistics for exactly

Last Updated

20 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for exactly

The first known use of exactly was in 1612

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on exactly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for exactly

Spanish Central: Translation of exactly

Nglish: Translation of exactly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exactly for Arabic Speakers

Comments on exactly

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