not exactly

not exactly

1. Not quite; not too far from the truth. A: "So you'll be moving back to the city for the new job then?" B: "Not exactly, the wife and kids will stay where they are, and I'll commute back to them for the weekends." A: "Does that make me the manager?" B: "Not exactly, more like a co-manager with Ken."
2. Used sarcastically or ironically to mean "not at all." What do you think of the painting? I'm not exactly Picasso, but I think it turned out pretty well. They won't exactly be pleased to see us after the way the last dinner party went.
See also: exactly, not

not exactly

(spoken)
1 used when you are saying the opposite of what you really mean: He wasn’t exactly pleased to see us — in fact he refused to open the door.It’s not exactly beautiful, is it? (= it’s ugly)
2 used when you are correcting something that somebody has said: ‘So he told you you’d got the job?’ ‘Not exactly, but he said they were impressed with me.’
See also: exactly, not
References in classic literature ?
Indeed, the wishes of my little correspondents have been considered as carefully as possible, and if the story is not exactly as you would have written it yourselves, you must remember that a story has to be a story before it can be written down, and the writer cannot change it much without spoiling it.
did not exactly understand his more sophisticated partner; but before he had time to ask an explanation, the appearance of another customer caused his face to brighten, and changed the current of his thoughts.
Just as with the maid she had felt not exactly ashamed, but embarrassed at her darns, so she felt with him not exactly ashamed, but embarrassed at herself.
We could not exactly pitch stumps, for they are forbidden in the Gardens, but there are trees here and there which have chalk-marks on them throughout the summer, and when you take up your position with a bat near one of these you have really pitched stumps.
No-o-o, it's not exactly my name, but I would love to be called Cordelia.
Not at all silly," said I, losing my temper; "here for example, I take this Square," and, at the word, I grasped a moveable Square, which was lying at hand -- "and I move it, you see, not Northward but -- yes, I move it Upward -- that is to say, not Northward, but I move it somewhere -- not exactly like this, but somehow --" Here I brought my sentence to an inane conclusion, shaking the Square about in a purposeless manner, much to the amusement of my Grandson, who burst out laughing louder than ever, and declared that I was not teaching him, but joking with him; and so saying he unlocked the door and ran out of the room.
Bessy Cranage, in her neatest cap and frock, was crying, though she did not exactly know why; for, as her cousin Wiry Ben, who stood near her, judiciously suggested, Dinah was not going away, and if Bessy was in low spirits, the best thing for her to do was to follow Dinah's example and marry an honest fellow who was ready to have her.
Yet is it possible, my friend, that thou mayest have seen all these without being able to form an exact idea of Sophia; for she did not exactly resemble any of them.
But though I may not exactly make converts of you young ladies, I am sure your father, Miss Morland, would agree with me in thinking it expedient to give every young man some employment.
The particular policy of the national and of the State systems of finance might now and then not exactly coincide, and might require reciprocal forbearances.
Meantime the body of the ship's commander is being enfeebled by want of appetite; at least, such is my experience, though "enfeebled" is perhaps not exactly the word.
It was not exactly spirituality that was obvious, though the screen of the flesh seemed almost transparent, because there was in his face an outrageous sensuality; but, though it sounds nonsense, it seemed as though his sensuality were curiously spiritual.
Mombi was not exactly a Witch, because the Good Witch who ruled that part of the Land of Oz had forbidden any other Witch to exist in her dominions.
Mentally, the reading rendered me dumb for the remainder of the day, not exactly with astonishment but with a sort of dismal wonder.
But although I'm not exactly engaged to Hermann I can never love anyone else, and I look upon myself as his bride.