Definition of exactly in US English:

exactly

adverb

  • 1Without discrepancy (used to emphasize the accuracy of a figure or description)

    ‘they met in 1989 and got married exactly two years later’
    ‘fold the second strip of paper in exactly the same way’
    • ‘It described a curve exactly the same as he had seen when looking at the carriage wheels.’
    • ‘She has dealt with me at exactly the right level and in precisely the right way to see me through the treatment.’
    • ‘It's the most perfect of words, because it sounds exactly like the concept it describes.’
    • ‘Not all of the features above worked all the time or always exactly as described.’
    • ‘If the bearing is correct, the wreck of the windjammer should be exactly below us.’
    • ‘He used to sit there and paint and he'd tell us exactly what time the colour would change.’
    • ‘It is too painful and distressing for me to describe in detail exactly what happened.’
    • ‘In fact the solution given, although in a special case, gives exactly the modern method.’
    • ‘Part of him knew exactly who would be described but he wanted the homeless man to say it.’
    • ‘The first electron micrograph in each figure shows exactly which part was examined.’
    • ‘The Neale needed a good start to the second half and that was exactly what they got.’
    • ‘You can read the pages exactly as they are laid out in the physical paper and download pdf's of any pages you want to keep.’
    • ‘Quite a lot of regard is being given to exactly those issues in this term of Parliament.’
    • ‘The brothel turned out, when I went to check it out, to be exactly as Phillip described it.’
    • ‘Years later it evokes exactly what we were thinking and feeling at the time.’
    • ‘It was just such a funny thing to know that my movements were exactly charted by this little slip of paper.’
    • ‘His was a natural gift and, if it is not a contradiction in terms, this is exactly the way he styled it.’
    • ‘Its molecule is almost exactly the right shape to fit closely against a molecule of the substrate.’
    • ‘A face is perfectly symmetrical where one side is exactly the same as the other.’
    • ‘The figures would be then worked and reworked until they exactly met his needs.’
    precisely, entirely, absolutely, completely, totally, just, quite, in every way, in every respect, one hundred per cent, every inch, to the hilt
    accurately, precisely, correctly, without error, without flaws, without mistakes, unerringly, faultlessly, perfectly
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 In exact terms; without vagueness.
      ‘what exactly are you looking for?’
      • ‘As a rule, there is no term in the contract about exactly where he is to work.’
      • ‘Do you know exactly what you want to do with yourself once your undergrad degree is over?’
      • ‘Second, what does it mean, exactly, to talk about children dying from air pollution?’
      • ‘Whether this assertion is warranted and what exactly it amounts to is quite another question.’
      • ‘I want to ask him to open the books and tell us exactly what this war is costing in financial terms.’
      • ‘I'm not sure what bird it is exactly, it's definitely a raptor, and looks like a huge hawk.’
      • ‘Newspapers can monitor exactly which stories in that spot will sell most papers.’
      • ‘He doesn't pull any punches and he lets you know in no uncertain terms exactly what he wants from you.’
      • ‘No question it's an excellent film but how accurate is that description exactly?’
      • ‘It would have been a perfect spot for stargazing, had she known exactly what it was she was looking for.’
      • ‘Now, just exactly where have all the scraps of paper with the new addresses got to?’
      • ‘When the first Icehotel in the world opened, some people were a little bemused by exactly what it was.’
      • ‘We now know exactly what Lancashire has done in terms of modernisation, and what is needed.’
      • ‘We need to identify exactly where problems exist and respond to them with precision.’
      • ‘No one can be absolutely correct about when exactly life begins and every person will have his or her own view.’
      • ‘It took me a few minutes to figure out exactly what I hated about this painting.’
      • ‘Well a lot of the problem was the definitions of what is a yacht and who exactly is Rich.’
      • ‘While commonly used by many authors, it is not so easy to pinpoint exactly what they mean by the term.’
      • ‘More precisely, have you guessed exactly where the one large casino is going to be yet?’
      • ‘So we need to identify exactly what the barriers are to see if we can correct them.’
  • 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
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • not exactly

    • 1informal Not at all.

      ‘that was not exactly convincing’
      • ‘This is not exactly a no-frills album and quite possibly a good place to start for the novice.’
      • ‘It is not exactly a new concept, but buyers have to be convinced that it is indeed gold.’
      • ‘Being February, it's not exactly mobbed, but the weather is holding up quite well.’
      • ‘Howard said it is not exactly how they imagined having their first child, but they are both very happy with the new arrival.’
      • ‘I know he's said I should swing by the studio, but it's not exactly on the beaten path for me.’
      • ‘But he is not the only one to find his new hours are not exactly civilised.’
      • ‘They are not exactly awe-inspiring, but no doubt they were quite expensive to set up.’
      • ‘Mysteriously, employers have not exactly been falling over themselves in the rush to endorse this call.’
      • ‘Despite the fact that they get nothing for them, married women's contributions are not exactly cheap.’
      • ‘And unlike France two years ago, Dutch players are not exactly renowned for their unity.’
      • ‘I have quite a collection of it, and though it's not exactly an investment collection, I love it.’
      • ‘No wonder we're not exactly all bouncing with energy and delight at the onset of our Irish winter.’
      • ‘It was all extremely glamorous, if not exactly a teenager's idea of fun.’
      by no means, not by any means, not, not at all, in no way, certainly not
      View synonyms
    • 2informal Not quite but close to being.

      ‘not exactly agitated, but disturbed’
      • ‘Now, he is from a home where money is not exactly flowing, but his mother tries.’
      • ‘But now an airline has introduced a service that, if not exactly door to door, is the next best thing.’
      • ‘There was a loose form of organisation to it all, though not exactly what you would call a well-oiled machine.’
      • ‘While it may not exactly be a war just yet, there is quite clearly rising tension between these two clubs.’
      • ‘They are not exactly outside HR policy but we do not manage them directly.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You're not exactly here and you're not quite there, you're somewhere else in limbo.’
      • ‘I also know that for some things, I deserve, if not exactly an apology, at least an explanation.’
      • ‘The author does not exactly caricature her characters, but she paints them in without much subtlety.’
      • ‘She looked like some ancient thing, much less than a goddess, but not exactly human either.’

Pronunciation

exactly

/ɪɡˈzæk(t)li//iɡˈzak(t)lē/