Webster's new World Dictionary, Concise Edition (1960) lying open on a desk

Exigency: Wednesday Words

I found this word on a mandatory workplace poster explaining state leave benefits to employees. Since I’m in charge of posting said posters and updating them annually, I thought I should know what they say!

But I didn’t know what this sentence was trying to communicate:

Covered individuals may be entitled to family and medical leave for the following reasons:

  • up to 20 weeks of paid medical leave in a benefit year if they have a serious health condition that incapacitates them from
  • up to 12 weeks of paid family leave in a benefit year related to the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child, to care for a family member with a serious health condition, or because of a qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a family member is on active duty or has been notified of an impending call to active duty in the Armed Forces.
Notice of Benefits Available Under M.G.L. Chapter 175M
Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML)

“A qualifying exigency.” Huh??

Exigency: a state of affairs that makes urgent demands

Aha. That helps explain it. Thank you, Merriam-Webster.

I remember one exigency from childhood: I woke up in the middle of the night having a hard time breathing. My parents drove me to the doctor’s office, which must have been on the side of her house, because she was there in the middle of the night to see me! At any rate, she diagnosed me with asthma. This was back in the ’70s, and that was that. No meds, and I don’t remember any medical advice. Just the diagnosis. Thanks, Doc.

I’m very grateful that by the time our youngest son was born there were treatments readily available!

A more recent memory comes from just last month, when I was violently shivering while kayaking down the Colorado River with sleet blowing in my face. That exigency certainly made urgent demands for me to warm up!!

The idea of exigency is written throughout the Bible, but here are a few instances:

“When Jesus had again crossed by boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around Him beside the sea. A synagogue leader named Jairus arrived, and seeing Jesus, he fell at His feet and pleaded with Him urgently, “My little daughter is near death. Please come and place Your hands on her, so that she will be healed and live'” (Mark 5:21-23 BSB).

“Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others; then they will not be unproductive” (Titus 3:14 NLT).

“Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law. This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living” (Romans 13:10-12 NLT).

Now it’s your turn! Do you have any memories of exigencies?

Check out Wednesday Words to find out about my vocabulary expansion project, and join along!

Write a post using the word “exigency,” then put a link to your post in the comments below. I’d love to read your thoughts!

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