Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for January 21, 2021 is:
exact ig-ZAKT verb
1 : to call for forcibly or urgently and obtain
2 : to call for as necessary or desirable
“The choice between forgiveness and revenge is an age-old tale. Amy March burned Jo March’s manuscript out of spite after her older sister wasn’t sympathetic to her in Louisa May Alcott’s ‘Little Women.’ Stephen King’s Carrie used her telekinetic powers to exact revenge on her high school classmates who bullied her.” — Shelby Fleig and Anna Spoerre, The Des Moines (Iowa) Register, 12 Mar. 2020
“Based on the book by writer Alex Kershaw, ‘The Liberator’ depicts how the Thunderbirds staggered through a withering 500-plus days of combat in less than two years, exacting a terrible toll on Axis troops while suffering nearly 10,500 casualties during the course of the war.” — David Kindy, Smithsonian, 11 Nov. 2020
Did you know?
Exact derives from a form of the Latin verb exigere, meaning “to drive out, to demand, or to measure.” (Another descendant of exigere is the word exigent, which can mean “demanding” or “requiring immediate attention.”) Exigere, in turn, was formed by combining the prefix ex- with the verb agere, meaning “to drive.” Agere has been a prolific source of words for English speakers; it is the ancestor of agent, react, mitigate, and navigate, just to name a few. Incidentally, if you are looking for a synonym of the verb exact, you could try demand, call for, claim, or require.