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 Police said exigent circumstances and the fact that the building appeared to be abandoned led them to enter without a warrant. Ngan Ho, Baltimore Sun, 2 June 2022 Similar exigent circumstances are standard in other city and state policies. NBC News, 17 Apr. 2022 The policy required that officers announce their presence prior to entry in all but exigent circumstances. CBS News, 5 Feb. 2022 Anything less than that would — bar exigent circumstances — be a disappointment. Zach Osterman, The Indianapolis Star, 24 Jan. 2022 This academic year, schools were instructed by the Legislature not to go online, with a requirement that at least four days a week be held in-person unless the four state leaders gave express permission in an exigent circumstance. Courtney Tanner, The Salt Lake Tribune, 24 Jan. 2022 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 See More

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.

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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Cite this Entry

“Exigent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exigent. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for exigent


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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