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

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 The University has known since February that a financial exigency plan was forthcoming. Michael T. Nietzel, Forbes, 4 May 2022 The predicament illustrates the exigency of the deepening refugee crisis. Washington Post, 11 Mar. 2022 Taxes levied for a temporary exigency become perpetual obligations. Gerard Baker, WSJ, 31 Jan. 2022 This was reduced to $1.5 million at a time of exigency for the studio, and Mr. Friedkin recalls on the 2009 Blu-ray disc from Fox that the film finally cost $1.8 million. Peter Cowie, WSJ, 15 Oct. 2021 Her topsy-turvy life is a reminder, too, that if the personal is the political, the political is also the personal, driven by inconsistency and exigency. Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, 13 Sep. 2021 Barriers of language, culture, religion and even species would be dissolved in the exigency of a moment no one knew how long might last. Los Angeles Times, 9 Sep. 2021 The question to me has been colleges consolidating plus institutions declaring financial exigency, which is accredited higher education’s version of bankruptcy. Michael B. Horn, Forbes, 27 May 2021 Vermont, America’s second-whitest state (after Maine), has taken that exigency to heart. The Economist, 11 Apr. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of exigency

1588, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of exigency was in 1588

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Last Updated

25 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Exigency.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exigency. Accessed 29 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for exigency


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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