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

Other Words from exigent

exigently adverb

Did you know?

Exigent is a derivative of the Latin present participle of exigere, which means "to demand." Since its appearance in Middle English, the law has demanded a lot from exigent. It first served as a noun for a writ issued to summon a defendant to appear in court or else be outlawed. The noun's meaning was then extended to refer to other pressing or critical situations. Its adjectival sense followed and was called upon to testify that something was urgent and needed immediate aid or action. 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 From 2009-16, Boston police never obtained a warrant, claiming exigent circumstances when using a cell site simulator, a practice the ACLU heavily criticized. Shannon Dooling, ProPublica, 17 Dec. 2021 But from his vantage on the evanescent bridge to maturity, So is puzzling out some big questions, ones that might be exigent from different vantages at any age. Deborah Eisenberg, The New York Review of Books, 19 Aug. 2021 And does the close call give ammunition to the exigent X-Factor calls for Sandy Brondello to be replaced? Greg Moore, The Arizona Republic, 24 Sep. 2021 People in exigent circumstances shouldn’t have to contend with such challenges. Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, 19 Sep. 2021 The coronavirus pandemic still poses an exigent threat, too. Brianna Milord, The New Yorker, 20 Aug. 2021 Exceptions will be made for infants and people with exigent health circumstances. al, 26 July 2021 They can only be executed between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., absent exigent circumstances. Washington Post, 6 May 2021

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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The first known use of exigent was in 1624

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Last Updated

28 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Exigent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exigent. Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for exigent



English Language Learners Definition of exigent

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


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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