ex·​i·​gen·​cy | \ ˈek-sə-jən(t)-sē How to pronounce exigency (audio) , ig-ˈzi-jən(t)- How to pronounce exigency (audio) \
plural exigencies

Definition of exigency

1 : that which is required in a particular situation usually used in plural exceptionally quick in responding to the exigencies of modern warfare— D. B. Ottaway
2a : the quality or state of being exigent
b : a state of affairs that makes urgent demands a leader must act in any sudden exigency

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Choose the Right Synonym for exigency

juncture, exigency, emergency, contingency, pinch, strait (or straits) crisis mean a critical or crucial time or state of affairs. juncture stresses the significant concurrence or convergence of events. an important juncture in our country's history exigency stresses the pressure of restrictions or urgency of demands created by a special situation. provide for exigencies emergency applies to a sudden unforeseen situation requiring prompt action to avoid disaster. the presence of mind needed to deal with emergencies contingency implies an emergency or exigency that is regarded as possible but uncertain of occurrence. contingency plans pinch implies urgency or pressure for action to a less intense degree than exigency or emergency. come through in a pinch strait, now commonly straits, applies to a troublesome situation from which escape is extremely difficult. in dire straits crisis applies to a juncture whose outcome will make a decisive difference. a crisis of confidence

Examples of exigency in a Sentence

the exigencies requiring snap decisions that traders on the stock exchange face every day
Recent Examples on the Web For Frances, this small, unstoppable woman, some eighteen years younger but apparently unafraid of the slave power of the South and the lawmakers in Washington, embodied the exigency and the potential of abolition. Dorothy Wickenden, The New Yorker, "The Pre-Civil War Fight Against White Supremacy," 18 Jan. 2021 The board declared financial exigency in the face of the 41% cut. Devi Shastri, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The only finalist for the UW System's top job is a white man, and critics say his credentials and vision for the future are lackluster," 11 June 2020 But collection by the very hospitals that are treating coronavirus patients brings the health and economic exigencies of the moment into especially stark relief. Alec Macgillis, ProPublica, "One Thing the Pandemic Hasn’t Stopped: Aggressive Medical-Debt Collection," 28 Apr. 2020 In its exigency and sometimes gruesome specificity, Mostly Dead Things mirrors the work of its protagonist, Jessa-Lynn Morton, a taxidermist who must run the family business after her father dies by suicide. The Atlantic, "The 15 Best Books of 2019," 24 Dec. 2019 The exigencies of Manhattan real estate and development are evidently undeterred by the crisis. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "The Coronavirus Crisis Reveals New York at Its Best and Worst," 23 Mar. 2020 Financial exigency is an extreme and uncommon step taken by universities in a financial crisis. Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News, "University of Alaska regents cancel declaration of ‘financial exigency’," 21 Aug. 2019 Trump’s ongoing influence campaign has been widely treated as another egregious example of the president’s wanton disregard for long-standing norms—in this case, the protection of monetary policy from the exigencies of electoral politics. Christopher W. Shaw, Harper's Magazine, "The Money Question," 30 Mar. 2020 Senate traditionalists such as Mitch McConnell and Roy Blunt have thus far proven resistant, given their hesitance to open broader questions about changing the rules, but they should reconsider given the exigencies of the situation. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, "It’s Time to Let Congress Vote Remotely," 23 Mar. 2020

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

1588, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for exigency

Time Traveler

The first known use of exigency was in 1588

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Statistics for exigency

Last Updated

25 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Exigency.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exigency. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for exigency



English Language Learners Definition of exigency

formal : something that is necessary in a particular situation


ex·​i·​gen·​cy | \ ˈek-sə-jən-sē, ik-ˈsi-jən-sē How to pronounce exigency (audio) \
plural exigencies

Legal Definition of exigency

1 : that which is required in a particular situation usually used in pl.
2a : the quality or state of being exigent
b : a state of affairs that makes urgent demands

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