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

Finally, mental disorders can be influenced by factors directly related to the exigencies of evolution. David P. Barash, WSJ, "‘Good Reasons for Bad Feelings’ Review: Suffering’s Silver Lining," 13 Feb. 2019 The Framers promulgated the Bill of Rights precisely to inhibit Congress from curtailing fundamental rights in the name of this or that exigency. WSJ, "Cellphone Site Data and Fourth Amendment," 1 July 2018 The Pearl Harbor attack occurred in the fifth month of a six-month commercial television test, and war exigencies have cut television broadcasting from 15 hours weekly to four. Johnny Miller, SFChronicle.com, "5 years, $26 million for QB Young," 12 July 2018 Here was art that, in its dazzlingly unorthodox approach to form and aesthetics, could mimic and even embody the exigencies of real life. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "In May 1968, the Cannes Film Festival ground to a halt. Fifty years later, it's still sparking controversy," 20 Apr. 2018 Predictably, the Continentals had reached out to the Delaware people for reasons of military exigency. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, "Why the Very First Treaty Between the United States and a Native People Still Resonates Today," 25 May 2018 Chicago State trustees declared a state of financial exigency, or emergency, in 2016. Teddy Greenstein, chicagotribune.com, "Chris Zorich, former Bears and Notre Dame defensive lineman, named athletic director at Chicago State," 1 May 2018 But there are also times when the exigencies of law enforcement and national security are in obvious conflict with the spirit behind sunshine laws. Michael Richter, WSJ, "The Public Has a Right to Know, but There Are Limits," 5 Apr. 2018 Longevity Insurance’ As all of the above suggests, even a substantial nest egg may not be able to cover all the exigencies of a blessedly long life. Chris Taylor, Fortune, "How to Invest for a 40-Year Retirement," 13 Dec. 2017

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

The first known use of exigency was in 1588

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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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Comments on exigency

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


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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