Definition of exception in English:

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Pronunciation: /ikˈsepSH(ə)n/


A person or thing that is excluded from a general statement or does not follow a rule: the drives between towns are a delight, and the journey to Graz is no exception while he normally shies away from introducing resolutions, he made an exception in this case
More example sentences
  • There are a number of well-established exceptions to the general rule and their list is not closed.
  • I have a friend and neighbour called Peter Thomson who is an exception to the general rule.
  • An exception to this general rule is formed by a cheque which bears on its front the letter R.
anomaly, irregularity, deviation, special case, isolated example, peculiarity, abnormality, oddity;
misfit, aberration
informal freak
bad apple



the exception proves the rule

proverb The fact that some cases do not follow a rule proves that the rule applies in all other cases.
From Latin exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis 'The exception confirms the rule in the cases not excepted'. The exception here is 'the action of excepting' not 'that being excepted'. By specifically excluding cases where the rule doesn't apply, you make the rule stronger for the cases still governed by it
Example sentences
  • That is the one part where the exception proves the rule.
  • Regarding the previous posting about the Washington Post OpEd, one could counter with ‘the exception proves the rule’ - wrong.
  • Those who did not, such as Desmond Tutu, were the exceptions that proved the rule.

take exception to

Object strongly to; be offended by: they took exception to his bohemian demeanor
More example sentences
  • While we're no exception, we do take exception to those who think this is the beginning of the end of business on the Internet as we know it.
  • The Attorney-General Philip Ruddock took exception to that, and took the rare step of publicly criticising the Police Commissioner.
  • He hit her repeatedly on the head with a hammer after she made a throwaway remark he took exception to in a Halifax pub where she had been relaxing with friends.
object to, take offense at, take umbrage at, demur at, disagree with;
resent, argue against, protest against, oppose, complain about, shudder at
informal kick up a fuss about, raise a stink about

with the exception of

Except; not including.
Example sentences
  • The first half was utterly forgettable with the exception of just a few saving graces.
  • Same thing happens over here as well with the exception of only a love relationship.
  • If someone asks me how to spell a word, with the exception of just a few, I get it right.

without exception

With no one or nothing excluded.
Example sentences
  • All of what he says about Derrida's thought is, without exception, false.
  • Everyone is exceptionally polite, and everyone seems to speak English, without exception very good English.
  • If one whole side on any issue chooses almost without exception to remain silent then the discussion simply doesn't take place.


Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin exceptio(n-), from excipere 'take out' (see except).

Words that rhyme with exception

conception, contraception, deception, inception, interception, misconception, perception, reception

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ex·cep·tion

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