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 pluralexceptionally 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 Regents canceled their declaration of financial exigency. Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News, "Some Alaska faculty say accreditor’s letter to UA validates their concerns, others say it’s too vague," 2 Oct. 2019 The business of government is driven by the exigencies of holding together fragile coalitions. The Economist, "Why politics in the south Pacific are so precarious," 7 Nov. 2019 Direct brain-to-brain communication has been a subject of intense interest for many years, driven by motives as diverse as futurist enthusiasm and military exigency. Robert Martone, Scientific American, "Scientists Demonstrate Direct Brain-to-Brain Communication in Humans," 29 Oct. 2019 Yet a reckoning with the reality of our changing earth must also come to terms with the exigencies of language. Abhrajyoti Chakraborty, The New Republic, "The Disaster Novelist," 8 Oct. 2019 Under financial exigency, for instance, UA would have to provide tenured faculty with 60 days’ notice of a layoff instead of one year. Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News, "University of Alaska regents set to reconsider ‘financial exigency’," 19 Aug. 2019 The task of Thomas’s White Constitution is to re-create the conditions that made for black survival, to undo the culture of rights and replace it with a state of exigency. Theodore Kupfer, National Review, "The Not So Enigmatic Clarence Thomas," 22 Aug. 2019 The system’s Board of Regents declared financial exigency—essentially bankruptcy—to give itself room to more easily fire tenured faculty. Adam Harris, The Atlantic, "Alaska Still Hasn’t Saved Its Universities," 15 Aug. 2019 Though there are charming moments throughout, especially when Addison finally finds nonfraternal love in the form of the rich dilettante Hollis Bessemer (Jin Ha), the exigencies of staging the picaresque tale overwhelm our interest in it. New York Times, "Review: Sondheim’s Bumpy ‘Road Show,’ Now at the End of the Line," 25 July 2019

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

27 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Exigency.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exigency. Accessed 10 December 2019.

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More Definitions for exigency


How to pronounce exigency (audio) How to pronounce exigency (audio)

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).


to state or do over again or repeatedly

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