See more synonyms for exact on Thesaurus.com
  1. strictly accurate or correct: an exact likeness; an exact description.
  2. precise, as opposed to approximate: the exact sum; the exact date.
  3. admitting of no deviation, as laws or discipline; strict or rigorous.
  4. capable of the greatest precision: exact instruments.
  5. characterized by or using strict accuracy: an exact thinker.
  6. Mathematics. (of a differential equation) noting that the collection of all terms, equated to zero, is an exact differential.
verb (used with object)
  1. to call for, demand, or require: to exact respect from one's children.
  2. to force or compel the payment, yielding, or performance of: to exact money; to exact tribute from a conquered people.

Origin of exact

1400–50; late Middle English exacten (v.) < Latin exāctus (past participle of exigere drive out, thrust out), equivalent to ex- ex-1 + ag(ere) to drive + -tus past participle suffix
Related formsex·act·a·ble, adjectiveex·act·er, ex·ac·tor, nounex·act·ness, nounnon·ex·act·a·ble, adjectivepre·ex·act, adjective, verb (used with object)qua·si-ex·act, adjectivequa·si-ex·act·ly, adverbun·ex·act·ed, adjective

Synonyms for exact

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Antonyms for exact

1, 2. imprecise.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for exact


  1. correct in every detail; strictly accuratean exact copy
  2. precise, as opposed to approximate; neither more nor lessthe exact sum
  3. (prenominal) specific; particularthis exact spot
  4. operating with very great precisionexact instruments
  5. allowing no deviation from a standard; rigorous; strictan exact mind
  6. based mainly on measurement and the formulation of laws, as opposed to description and classificationphysics is an exact science
verb (tr)
  1. to force or compel (payment or performance); extortto exact tribute
  2. to demand as a right; insist uponto exact respect from one's employees
  3. to call for or requirethis work exacts careful effort
Derived Formsexactable, adjectiveexactness, nounexactor or exacter, noun

Word Origin for exact

C16: from Latin exactus driven out, from exigere to drive forth, from agere to drive
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for exact

"precise, rigorous, accurate," 1530s, from Latin exactus "precise, accurate, exact," past participle of exigere "demand, require," literally "to drive or force out," also "demand, finish, measure," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + agere "drive, lead, act" (see act).


mid-15c., from Latin exactus, past participle of exigere (see exact (adj.)). Older in English than the adjective and retaining the literal sense of the Latin source. Related: Exacted; exacting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper