ex·​i·​gent | \ ˈek-sə-jənt How to pronounce exigent (audio) \

Definition of exigent

1 : requiring immediate aid or action exigent circumstances
2 : requiring or calling for much : demanding an exigent client

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Other Words from exigent

exigently adverb

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This writ seemeth to be called an Exigent because it exacteth the party, that is, requireth his expearance or forthcomming, to answer the lawe. Writer John Cowell, referring in 1607 to a writ summoning a person on pain of outlawry, clearly recognized "exigent" as a derivative of Latin exigere, which means "to demand." Over the last five centuries we have demanded a lot from "exigent." It has served as a legal term (as in Cowell's quote), as well as a noun meaning either "an emergency" or "an end or extremity." Nowadays, the adjective is seen frequently in legal contexts referring to "exigent circumstances," such as those used to justify a search by police without a warrant.

Examples of exigent in a Sentence

started his workday with a flood of exigent matters that required his quick decision
Recent Examples on the Web What should be front and center in Air Force decision-making are the nation’s exigent defense interests. Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner, "Space Force belongs in Colorado," 10 Dec. 2020 The settlement still allows for IMPD to use riot control measures when there is imminent threat of serious injury or death, and other exigent circumstances, like rioting. Elizabeth Depompei, The Indianapolis Star, "IMPD agrees to change how it uses tear gas during protests," 29 Oct. 2020 That theme is developed under more exigent circumstances in the novel’s second part, set in Japan. Ron Charles, Washington Post, "Bryan Washington’s ‘Memorial’ is a tender look at modern family life," 27 Oct. 2020 But no matter where congregations are physically located, how to incorporate the news represented an exigent question at a time when months of planning finally seemed to be coming to a close. Philissa Cramer, sun-sentinel.com, "How RBG’s death changed Rosh Hashanah services," 22 Sep. 2020 So many hours talking about basketball coaches… and remote professors, and exigent editors. Christopher Benfey, The New York Review of Books, "Missed Steps," 26 Aug. 2020 Pressed for examples, McManus said an exigent circumstance could involve a suspect who threatened to set his or her house on fire or kill family members. Emilie Eaton, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio City Council will consider two controversial police tactics: no-knock warrants and neck restraints," 25 Aug. 2020 By running mass spectrometry on one of the site’s exigent 52 stones, the researchers were able to match its trace elements to a site in England where that rock was likely mined. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Have Solved the Biggest Mystery of Stonehenge," 31 July 2020 The future protesters are picturing must be more exigent simply because the past has already fallen away. Zoë Hu, The New Republic, "A Fragile Answer to the Question of “Whose Streets?”," 10 June 2020

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

1624, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for exigent

Latin exigent-, exigens, present participle of exigere to demand — more at exact

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Time Traveler for exigent

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The first known use of exigent was in 1624

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Last Updated

15 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Exigent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exigent. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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How to pronounce exigent (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of exigent

: requiring immediate attention : needing to be dealt with immediately
: expecting much time, attention, effort, etc., from other people


ex·​i·​gent | \ ˈek-sə-jənt How to pronounce exigent (audio) \

Legal Definition of exigent

: requiring immediate aid or action — see also exigent circumstances

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