rigid or severe in demands or requirements: an exacting teacher.
requiring close application or attention: an exacting task.
given to or characterized by exaction; extortionate.

Origin of exacting

First recorded in 1575–85; exact + -ing2
Related formsex·act·ing·ly, adverbex·act·ing·ness, nounnon·ex·act·ing, adjectivenon·ex·act·ing·ly, adverbnon·ex·act·ing·ness, nouno·ver·ex·act·ing, adjectivesu·per·ex·act·ing, adjectiveun·ex·act·ing, adjective




strictly accurate or correct: an exact likeness; an exact description.
precise, as opposed to approximate: the exact sum; the exact date.
admitting of no deviation, as laws or discipline; strict or rigorous.
capable of the greatest precision: exact instruments.
characterized by or using strict accuracy: an exact thinker.
Mathematics. (of a differential equation) noting that the collection of all terms, equated to zero, is an exact differential.

verb (used with object)

to call for, demand, or require: to exact respect from one's children.
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

Antonyms for exact

1, 2. imprecise.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for exacting

Contemporary Examples of exacting

Historical Examples of exacting

  • They drank to the health of this exacting, loyal maiden, and Cross gave her name.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • It never occurred to her that she could have put off this exacting job.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • In fact, the fairies in Cymric land are among the most exacting of any known.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • I wish Society was not so arbitrary, I wish it was not so exacting—Bird, be quiet!'

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • Is there a dramatic art--exacting, difficult, supreme--or is there not?

British Dictionary definitions for exacting



making rigorous or excessive demandsan exacting job
Derived Formsexactingly, adverbexactingness, noun



correct in every detail; strictly accuratean exact copy
precise, as opposed to approximate; neither more nor lessthe exact sum
(prenominal) specific; particularthis exact spot
operating with very great precisionexact instruments
allowing no deviation from a standard; rigorous; strictan exact mind
based mainly on measurement and the formulation of laws, as opposed to description and classificationphysics is an exact science

verb (tr)

to force or compel (payment or performance); extortto exact tribute
to demand as a right; insist uponto exact respect from one's employees
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 exacting

"too demanding," 1580s, present participle adjective from exact (v.).



"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