From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishexactlyex‧act‧ly /ɪɡˈzæktli/ ●●● S1 W2 adverb 1 EXACTused when emphasizing that something is no more and no less than a number or amount, or is completely correct in every detail It’s exactly half past five. The figures may not be exactly right, but they’re close enough.exactly where/what/when etc I can’t remember exactly what she said. It’s a tragic situation and no one will ever know exactly what happened.why/what/where etc exactly ...? Where exactly did you stay in Portugal?2 EXACTused to emphasize that something is the same or different SYN precisely That’s exactly what we’ve been trying to tell you. It’s exactly the kind of work I’ve been looking for. She tries to be exactly like her older sister. Kevin’s teachers saw him as quiet and serious, but with his friends he was exactly the opposite. The two candidates responded to the question in exactly the same way.3 → not exactly4 spokenYES used as a reply to show that you think what someone has said is completely correct or true ‘So you think we should sell the house?’ ‘Exactly.’THESAURUSexactly used when emphasizing that something is no more and no less than a number or amount, or is completely correct in every detailThe bill came to exactly $1,000.Police are still trying to find out exactly how the accident happened.precisely exactly – used when it is important to be sure that something is completely correct in every detailWe need to know precisely how much this is going to cost.Can you tell us precisely where he is?What precisely do you mean by ‘relativity’?just especially spoken exactly – used especially when saying that things are exactly right, exactly the same, or exactly in a particular positionThe frame is just the right size for the picture.He and his brother are just the same.The hotel is just next to the station.A new handbag! That’s just what I wanted.right exactly in a particular position or directionThe ball hit me right in the eye!There’s the house, right in front of you.I got a mosquito bite right on the end of my nose. He sat down right beside her.directly exactly in a particular position or direction Directly is more formal than rightAmy was sitting directly opposite me.on the dot informal at exactly a particular time, and no earlier or later than that timeShe always leaves the office at 5.30 p.m. on the dot.bang British English informal exactly – used especially in the following very informal expressionsThe train was bang on time.The shot was bang on target.Cockatoo Island is right bang in the middle of Sydney harbour.
Examples from the Corpusexactly• The bill came to exactly $1000.• It's exactly 5 o'clock.• The baby was born almost exactly a year after they were married.• Where exactly are you from?• You must do exactly as I say.• Assemble the table exactly as shown in the diagram on the left.• Glue the pieces together, exactly as shown in the diagram.• What exactly did you want to see?• These latter were nearly all middle-aged or C3 with bad eyesight, so the outlook was not exactly exhilarating.• The kittens know instinctively what to do, they just have to learn exactly how to do it skilfully.• I don't exactly know how to dry herbs, could you show me?• That's exactly right.• This is exactly the kind of job that computers are good at.• It tastes exactly the same as meat.• He couldn't, though, for exactly the same reasons that he had left her in the first place.• That's exactly the sort of material I'm looking for.• It took us exactly two hours to get here.• But the truth is that the speech did exactly what Dole and his advisers wanted it to do.• That's exactly what happened to me!• I'm sure he knew exactly what he was doing.• The earrings are beautiful! They're exactly what I wanted.• The doctors can't say exactly what's wrong with my mother.• The police want to know exactly when you left the building.• Some members stay in Washington, but I knew exactly where I was going.exactly where/what/when etc• This means that you specify exactly what each concept means and how it might be measured.• He meant exactly what he said.• He has done exactly what he was hired to do.• Which is exactly what I did.• This, too, is exactly what real-life geneticists do.• Learning is so fundamental that we seldom stop to analyze exactly what takes place.• Think about each one and decide exactly what the problem is.exactly the opposite• It is just possible that it does exactly the opposite.• The concert pianist did exactly the opposite.• The reality is exactly the opposite.• Yet it would be possible to argue exactly the opposite case.• All the policies that the hon. Gentleman and his party advocate would move us in exactly the opposite direction.• The evidence points in exactly the opposite direction.• It seems Cheltenham's artistic attempt to engender friendship is having exactly the opposite effect, for the time being at least.• Before I read the book, I thought this was exactly the opposite of the truth.