pre·​cise pri-ˈsīs How to pronounce precise (audio)
: exactly or sharply defined or stated
: minutely exact
: strictly conforming to a pattern, standard, or convention
: distinguished from every other
at just that precise moment
preciseness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for precise

correct, accurate, exact, precise, nice, right mean conforming to fact, standard, or truth.

correct usually implies freedom from fault or error.

correct answers
socially correct dress

accurate implies fidelity to fact or truth attained by exercise of care.

an accurate description

exact stresses a very strict agreement with fact, standard, or truth.

exact measurements

precise adds to exact an emphasis on sharpness of definition or delimitation.

precise calibration

nice stresses great precision and delicacy of adjustment or discrimination.

makes nice distinctions

right is close to correct but has a stronger positive emphasis on conformity to fact or truth rather than mere absence of error or fault.

the right thing to do

Examples of precise in a Sentence

Be sure to take precise measurements before you cut the cloth. The dating of very old materials has become more precise with new instruments. The word has a very precise meaning. Can you find a more precise term than “good” to describe the movie? Could you be a little more precise about what happened? She is very precise in her work.
Recent Examples on the Web To no one’s surprise, the paddling on our boat leading into the Tunnel Chute wasn’t exactly precise, and the two journalists sitting up front, dictating the pace, were ejected into the water after hitting Magnetic Rock on the right side of the rapid, tipping the boat left. Chris Biderman, Sacramento Bee, 7 June 2024 This is ironic, given how precise Orwell was about language. Anne Wallentine, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 June 2024 They’re not allowed to touch the bottom of the pool, their underwater vision is fuzzy (goggles are forbidden in competition) and their routines are so precise and their configurations so compact that the slightest misstep can result in unpleasant collisions and kicks in the head. Sarah Lyall Daniel Dorsa, New York Times, 6 June 2024 Be precise: Spoon and level (or weigh) your dry ingredients for accurate measurements. Micah A Leal, Southern Living, 5 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for precise 

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

Word History


Middle English, from Middle French precis, from Latin praecisus, past participle of praecidere to cut off, from prae- + caedere to cut

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of precise was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near precise

Cite this Entry

“Precise.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


pre·​cise pri-ˈsīs How to pronounce precise (audio)
: exactly or sharply explained or stated
: very exact
precise scales
the precise time
: agreeing exactly with a rule or standard
precisely adverb
preciseness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on precise

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