Definition of not exactly in US English:

not exactly

phrase

informal
  • 1Not 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
  • 2Not 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.’