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

Did You Know?

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 The company goes beyond being conflict-free; Forevermark diamonds are only sourced from mines that meet exigent business, social, and environmental standards. Micaela Erlanger, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Hollywood Stylist Traveled to Africa to See How Diamonds Are Recovered Firsthand," 12 Dec. 2019 Both Clinton and Nixon weathered impeachment in their second terms, where the more exigent liability was the final midterm election of their term. Chris Wilson, Time, "How Long Could the Trump Impeachment Process Last? Use Our Interactive Timeline to Find Out," 1 Oct. 2019 In August 2017, Judge Hamilton ruled that the use of the devices, also known as stingrays, normally require a warrant but that one was not needed in this instance due to exigent circumstances. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Man involved in shooting cop and found via stingray given 20 years," 1 Mar. 2018 In addition, there can be exigent and unforeseen circumstances. Andy Wright, Slate Magazine, "Do Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s private email accounts violate the Presidential Records Act?," 10 Oct. 2017 The policy states that such enforcement should generally be avoided and requires either prior approval from an appropriate supervisory official or exigent circumstances necessitating immediate action. Beatriz Alvarado, USA TODAY, "Child faces deportation after crossing checkpoint for gall bladder surgery," 24 Oct. 2017 Before that happens, some publishers are clearly kicking up a storm, using the leverage that comes from the prospect of willful infringement damages to put Spotify on the defensive at this exigent moment. Eriq Gardner, Billboard, "Legal Campaign Against Spotify Intensifies Ahead of Company's Plan to Go Public," 13 Sep. 2017 Under the Fourth Amendment, arrests must be supported by a judicial finding of probable cause (in the form of a warrant), absent exigent circumstances (like a bona fide emergency) that were not present here. Mark Joseph Stern, Slate Magazine, "“You Weren’t Born in This Country”," 15 Feb. 2017 Barring exigent circumstances, officers should not conduct enforcement actions at sensitive locations. Maria Clark, NOLA.com, "Local churches revive sanctuary movement," 9 June 2017

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

26 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Exigent.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exigent. Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for exigent


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

More from Merriam-Webster on exigent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for exigent

Comments on exigent

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


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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