in·​ex·​act ˌi-nig-ˈzakt How to pronounce inexact (audio)
: not precisely correct or true : inaccurate
an inexact translation
: not rigorous and careful
an inexact thinker
inexactly adverb
inexactness noun

Examples of inexact in a Sentence

The measurements were somewhat inexact, but they were close enough. a thousand is an inexact figure for the number of islands in the St. Lawrence River
Recent Examples on the Web Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Calif. Chasing California’s desert bloom is an inexact science, as Ruby Mittal found out. Francine Kiefer, The Christian Science Monitor, 26 May 2024 Now, obviously, making product assumptions based on research papers is a deeply inexact science — the line from research to store shelves is windy and full of potholes. David Pierce, The Verge, 5 May 2024 The Biden-Humphrey, Gaza-Vietnam, Trump-Nixon parallels may be inexact, but remind me, again, just why the Democrats decided to pick Chicago for this year’s convention? Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, 2 May 2024 In other words, the Chargers probably couldn’t go wrong with any of them, which isn’t often the case in an exercise as fickle and inexact as the NFL draft. Jeff Miller, Los Angeles Times, 23 Apr. 2024 Keep in mind, there's an element of hope here because forecasting is an inexact science (who saw a pandemic coming that canceled every trade show?). Alison Murdock, Forbes, 27 Feb. 2024 These figures are inexact because income also depends on how much one flies. Vinod Sreeharsha, Miami Herald, 15 Feb. 2024 Recruiting is an inexact science, especially at a time when rosters are constructed with a combination of traditional prospects recruited out of high school and established FBS players added through the transfer portal. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, 7 Jan. 2024 But to assess the full arc of global warming, scientists typically combine this data with 19th-century thermometer readings that were often spotty and inexact. Raymond Zhong, New York Times, 5 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'inexact.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French, from in- + exact exact

First Known Use

circa 1828, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of inexact was circa 1828

Dictionary Entries Near inexact

Cite this Entry

“Inexact.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


in·​ex·​act ˌin-ig-ˈzakt How to pronounce inexact (audio)
: not exactly correct or true : inaccurate
inexact measurements
inexactly adverb
inexactness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on inexact

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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