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

Adnan Rahman of Windsor moved to the United States from Bangladesh in 2010 exactly for that reason. Shannon Larson, courant.com, "'The true pursuit of happiness’: 60 Connecticut residents become US citizens at Yard Goats naturalization ceremony," 4 July 2019 Solid tallies of exactly how many iguanas are in Florida are hard to come by, but the wildlife commission says public sightings of the lizards have grown increasingly common since the 1960s. Doug Criss, CNN, "Florida is being overrun with iguanas. Homeowners are now allowed to kill them," 3 July 2019 Interested in exactly what Julián Castro and Beto O'Rourke said during the first Democratic debate? Dallas News, "Castro riding debate wave, redistricting, census rulings could affect Texas, Paxton prosecutor wants out," 2 July 2019 Comic and superhero film fans spent months wondering exactly what would happen to the Marvel Cinematic Universe once Avengers: Endgame concluded. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Spider-Man: Far from Home," 1 July 2019 More importantly, the show is all about realizing the charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent of the queens who dare to make the the cut for the competition—this is exactly Lizzo’s lane. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "Lizzo Lands A Cosmetics Campaign With Urban Decay That Celebrates Her Uniqueness," 1 July 2019 In fact, the unfolding response to the conditions at the border shows exactly how civil liberties and constitutional governance work together to ameliorate genuine crises. David French, National Review, "In the New York Times, a ‘Human Rights’ Professor Calls for Mob Rule," 1 July 2019 Amid multiple overhauls of bad governments in the past two decades, few have expressed the discontent and will of the people as exactly or as articulately as Armenia’s mass demonstrations. Tom Ball, The New Republic, "How to Stage a Successful Revolution," 1 July 2019 Connolly, like Burakovsky, probably wants more ice time in a top-six role — which is exactly what the Avs will offer. Mike Chambers, The Denver Post, "Analysis: Avalanche must get their guy in NHL free agency," 1 July 2019

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

7 Jul 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

What made you want to look up exactly? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to form ideas or theories about something

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