1 : requiring immediate aid or action
2 : requiring or calling for much : demanding
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.
The patients were triaged so that exigent cases would be given immediate care.
"I have argued that a warrant to seize the needle should allow the police to seize the haystack to search for the needle. But there's a catch: The government should ordinarily not be allowed to use whatever else they find in the haystack. If the warrant is only to seize a needle, the police can only take away and use the needle, unless there are exigent circumstances exposed by the discovery of other evidence." — Orin Kerr, Reason, 29 June 2018
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Word Family Quiz
What 5-letter verb is derived from Latin exigere and means "to call for forcibly or urgently and obtain" or "to call for as necessary"?VIEW THE ANSWER
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