Definition of exactly in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪɡˈzak(t)li/
Pronunciation: /ɛɡˈzak(t)li/


1Used to emphasize the accuracy of a figure or description: they met in 1989 and got married exactly two years later
More example sentences
  • The first electron micrograph in each figure shows exactly which part was examined.
  • It is too painful and distressing for me to describe in detail exactly what happened.
  • The brothel turned out, when I went to check it out, to be exactly as Phillip described it.
precisely, entirely, absolutely, completely, totally, just, quite, in every way, in every respect, one hundred per cent, every inch, to the hilt
informal on the nail, bang on, spot on, to a T
North American informal on the money
accurately, precisely, correctly, without error, without flaws, without mistakes, unerringly, faultlessly, perfectly;
verbatim, word for word, letter for letter, to the letter, literally, closely, faithfully, in every detail, with strict attention to detail
rare veridically
1.1In exact terms; without vagueness: what exactly are you looking for?
More example sentences
  • He doesn't pull any punches and he lets you know in no uncertain terms exactly what he wants from you.
  • I'm not sure what bird it is exactly, it's definitely a raptor, and looks like a huge hawk.
  • We now know exactly what Lancashire has done in terms of modernisation, and what is needed.
2Used as a reply to confirm or agree with what has just been said: ‘You mean that you’re going to tell me the truth?’ ‘Exactly.’
precisely, yes, right, that's right, just so, quite so, quite, indeed, absolutely, truly, certainly, definitely, assuredly, undoubtedly, indubitably, without a doubt
informal you bet, you got it, I'll say


not exactly

1Not at all: that too was not exactly convincing
More example sentences
  • It is not exactly a new concept, but buyers have to be convinced that it is indeed gold.
  • I have quite a collection of it, and though it's not exactly an investment collection, I love it.
  • Being February, it's not exactly mobbed, but the weather is holding up quite well.
by no means, not by any means, not, not at all, in no way, certainly not;
not really
2Not quite but close to being: not exactly agitated, but disturbed
More example sentences
  • You're not exactly here and you're not quite there, you're somewhere else in limbo.
  • While it may not exactly be a war just yet, there is quite clearly rising tension between these two clubs.
  • Although not exactly a culinary crescendo, this turned out to be the high point of a meal that never really got out of first gear.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: exact¦ly

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