exact

verb
ex·​act | \ ig-ˈzakt How to pronounce exact (audio) \
exacted; exacting; exacts

Definition of exact

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to call for forcibly or urgently and obtain from them has been exacted the ultimate sacrifice— D. D. Eisenhower
2 : to call for as necessary or desirable

exact

adjective

Definition of exact (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : exhibiting or marked by strict, particular, and complete accordance with fact or a standard
2 : marked by thorough consideration or minute measurement of small factual details

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Other Words from exact

Verb

exactable \ ig-​ˈzak-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce exact (audio) \ adjective
exactor or less commonly exacter \ ig-​ˈzak-​tər How to pronounce exact (audio) \ noun

Adjective

exactness \ ig-​ˈzak(t)-​nəs How to pronounce exact (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for exact

Verb

demand, claim, require, exact mean to ask or call for something as due or as necessary. demand implies peremptoriness and insistence and often the right to make requests that are to be regarded as commands. demanded payment of the debt claim implies a demand for the delivery or concession of something due as one's own or one's right. claimed the right to manage his own affairs require suggests the imperativeness that arises from inner necessity, compulsion of law or regulation, or the exigencies of the situation. the patient requires constant attention exact implies not only demanding but getting what one demands. exacts absolute loyalty

Adjective

correct, accurate, exact, precise, nice, right mean conforming to fact, standard, or truth. correct usually implies freedom from fault or error. correct answers socially correct dress accurate implies fidelity to fact or truth attained by exercise of care. an accurate description exact stresses a very strict agreement with fact, standard, or truth. exact measurements precise adds to exact an emphasis on sharpness of definition or delimitation. precise calibration nice stresses great precision and delicacy of adjustment or discrimination. makes nice distinctions right is close to correct but has a stronger positive emphasis on conformity to fact or truth rather than mere absence of error or fault. the right thing to do

Do you exact or extract revenge?

Verb

The verb exact (as in, "exacting revenge" or "exacting a promise") is not as commonly encountered as the adjective exact, (as in "an exact copy" or "exact measurements"). Sometimes people will mistakenly use the more common verb extract when they really want exact. Extract can refer to removing something by pulling or cutting or to getting information from someone who does not want to give it. While both words refer to getting something they are used in different ways. You extract a tooth, but you exact revenge.

Did You Know?

Verb

Exact derives from a form of the Latin verb exigere, meaning "to drive out, to demand, or to measure." (Another descendant of exigere is the word exigent, which can mean "demanding" or "requiring immediate attention.") Exigere, in turn, was formed by combining the prefix ex- with the verb agere, meaning "to drive." Agere has been a very prolific source of words for English speakers; it is the ancestor of agent, react, mitigate, and navigate, just to name a few. Incidentally, if you are looking for a synonym of the verb exact, you could try demand, call for, claim, or require.

Examples of exact in a Sentence

Verb They would not rest until they had exacted revenge. He was able to exact a promise from them. Adjective Those were his exact words. The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation. We don't know the exact nature of the problem. Predicting the path of hurricanes is not an exact science. The police have an exact description of the killer. Please take the most exact measurements possible. He is very exact in the way he solves a problem.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Finally pushed to his limit, Roscoe flees home in a mini skirt and crop top, gets a job at a bar and dreams of living well enough to exact revenge on his family. Judy Berman, Time, "HBO Max’s Bold, Witty and Wrenching AIDS Drama It’s a Sin Is the First Must-See Show of 2021," 18 Feb. 2021 Charlotte wouldn’t have to wait long to try to exact revenge. New York Times, "Behind the ‘Grind’ of the N.B.A. Team With the Next Big Thing," 10 Feb. 2021 There are indications conservative activists and rank-and-file voters angry with the Republicans who supported impeachment are looking to exact punishment for their disloyalty. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, "House Republicans who impeached Trump can't lean on NRCC in GOP primaries," 22 Jan. 2021 Iran has blamed Israel for Fakhrizadeh's murder and vowed to exact revenge. Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY, "Jared Kushner heads to Middle East amid tensions over Iranian nuclear scientist's killing," 30 Nov. 2020 The strain of coronavirus lockdowns would exact a disproportionate toll on the sexes — forcing more women out of the workforce, deepening their load of uncompensated labor, leaving them more vulnerable to domestic violence. Washington Post, "Covid-19 live updates Australia reviewing blood clot case in man who received AstraZeneca vaccine," 2 Apr. 2021 These works dramatize the cruelties that hospital administrators and caretakers exact upon their patients, especially those who have been admitted against their will, with Hitchcockian dread. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "When Cruelty Is Disguised as Care Work," 24 Feb. 2021 Now, the Russian government might exact some revenge. David Meyer, Fortune, "Twitter has not been playing the Kremlin’s game," 1 Mar. 2021 Did President Biden exact some promise in his call to the crown prince’s 85-year-old father, King Salman, prior to the release of the report linking MBS, as he is known, to the killing? Ken Roberts, Forbes, "With Khashoggi Case, Biden’s Weak Response Can’t Be About Saudi Oil," 26 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Information about the exact number of those arrested Friday, and their charges, has not been released. William Mansell, ABC News, "Daunte Wright protests turn violent again in Minnesota, nearly 100 people arrested," 17 Apr. 2021 Hours later, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden still plans on resettling more than 15,000 refugees this year, but the exact number won’t be released until May 15, so his declaration essentially left the cap at 15,000 as a placeholder. Joe Walsh, Forbes, "White House Promises Boost In Refugee Admissions After Outrage From Democrats," 16 Apr. 2021 No exact number was provided, but American troop totals in Afghanistan have been understated by U.S. administrations for years. BostonGlobe.com, "‘Time to end America’s longest war’: Biden set to make speech on Afghanistan withdrawal," 14 Apr. 2021 People’s odds would determine their exact number in line for a vaccine. USA Today, "Could we save lives by assigning each American a place in line for vaccines?," 14 Apr. 2021 As many as five Michigan children have died of MIS-C and/or active COVID-19 infections, though state health officials won't release an exact total number of deaths from either disease. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan at 'record high' for COVID-19 hospitalizations of children," 13 Apr. 2021 Though she's never had an exact number in her mind, Robyn wanted however many children she's meant to have. Natalie Stone, PEOPLE.com, "Sister Wives: Robyn Brown Tells Kody She's Sometimes 'Baby Hungry' as He Contemplates Adoption," 11 Apr. 2021 Patrons are back, however, unlike in November, although the exact number remains a mystery. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, "A primer for the 2021 Masters: Fast greens, a 47-year-old contender and baby bumps," 7 Apr. 2021 However, there's no concrete evidence of the exact number of goals to be set. Claire Madigan, CNN, "3 behavioral psychology tips for weight loss," 1 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exact.' 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 exact

Verb

1564, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1533, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for exact

Verb

Middle English exacten "to require as payment," borrowed from Latin exāctus, past participle of exigere "to drive out, achieve, enforce payment of or the performance of (a task), require, inquire into, examine" from ex- ex- entry 1 + agere "to drive (cattle), be in motion, do, perform" — more at agent

Adjective

borrowed from Latin exāctus, from past participle of exigere "to drive out, achieve, require, inquire into, examine, measure" — more at exact entry 1

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Last Updated

20 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Exact.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exact. Accessed 23 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for exact

exact

verb

English Language Learners Definition of exact

 (Entry 1 of 2)

formal
: to demand and get (something, such as payment or revenge) especially by using force or threats
used in phrases like exact a terrible toll and exact a high/heavy price to say that something has caused a lot of suffering, loss, etc.

exact

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of exact (Entry 2 of 2)

: fully and completely correct or accurate
: very careful and accurate

exact

adjective
ex·​act | \ ig-ˈzakt How to pronounce exact (audio) \

Kids Definition of exact

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: completely correct or precise : accurate an exact copy the exact time

Other Words from exact

exactly adverb
exactness noun

exact

verb
exacted; exacting

Kids Definition of exact (Entry 2 of 2)

: to demand and get by force or threat They exacted terrible revenge.

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More from Merriam-Webster on exact

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for exact

Nglish: Translation of exact for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exact for Arabic Speakers

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