from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A pressing or urgent situation.
  • noun An urgent requirement; a pressing need.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The state of being urgent; pressing need or demand; urgency: as, the exigency of the case or of business.
  • noun A pressing necessity; an urgent case; any case which demands prompt action, supply, or remedy: as, in the present exigency no time is to be lost.
  • noun A state of difficulty or want; a condition of distress or need.
  • noun Command; requirement: as, the exigency of a writ.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The state of being exigent; urgent or exacting want; pressing necessity or distress; need; a case demanding immediate action, supply, or remedy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The demands or requirements of a situation (usually plural.)
  • noun An urgent situation.
  • noun A situation requiring extreme effort or attention.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a sudden unforeseen crisis (usually involving danger) that requires immediate action
  • noun a pressing or urgent situation


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the Middle French exigence from Late Latin exigentia "urgency" from Latin exigere "to demand"


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word exigency.


  • 'In the use of the word exigency, the full sense of its effect is perfectly understood.

    Canada and the States 1860

  • However, in line with AAUP’s guidelines and outlined in the Tulane Faculty Handbook, termination of tenure due to financial exigency is “reviewed by the faculty of the division in which they hold appointment, then by the Senate Committee on Faculty Tenure, Freedom and Responsibility, with ultimate review of all controverted issues by the Tulane Board of Administrators.”

    Inside Higher Ed: Did Katrina Blow Away Layoff Guidelines? 2006

  • But again, the question is not whether exigency was an important variable to the wartime Court: Of course it was.

    Is That Legal?: Who's to Blame? 2006

  • I travel with a teeny tiny jackknife/scissors combo for just that kind of exigency, which I would like to have you know was CONFISCATED JUST TODAY AT CHICAGO O'HARE AIRPORT.

    The Prairie Babe School PeaceBang 2006

  • I travel with a teeny tiny jackknife/scissors combo for just that kind of exigency, which I would like to have you know was CONFISCATED JUST TODAY AT CHICAGO O'HARE AIRPORT.

    Archive 2006-06-25 PeaceBang 2006

  • To deal with any kind of exigency, bomb blankets and disposal squads will be positioned on the network so that they can be called whenever required.

    The Times of India 2010

  • Another short-term solution to postal woes may be to invoke the "exigency" clause in postal law that would permit an increase in postage above the rate of inflation because of

    ImpeachBush 2008

  • … such narratives of crisis serve more than one category of reassurance: by repeatedly focusing anxiety on the fragility of the new nation, its ostensible vulnerability to every kind of exigency, the state's originating agency is periodically reinvoked and ratified, its access to wide-ranging instruments of power in the service of national protection continually consolidated.

    SARA - Southeast Asian RSS Aggregator 2010

  • The ongoing revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere are a stark reminder of the exigency involved.

    Reading Adam Smith in Arabic Donald J. Kochan 2011

  • The leads were allowed to be most heavyhearted — say, after having to take out a foe whose humanity was briefly glimpsed — but hard-heartedness was kept generally to the casting margins, or acknowledged under the cover of exigency.

    Getting Their Guns Off 2010


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • She asserts female right to a profession not because of financial exigency or family crisis, but out of sheer desire and for the sake of sheer power.

    Cheri Larsen Hoeckley, "Anomalous Ownership"

    November 28, 2011