Definition of exception in English:



  • 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’
    • ‘The exceptions to the rule are on our coasts and hills - just where objectors do not want them to be.’
    • ‘There are a number of well-established exceptions to the general rule and their list is not closed.’
    • ‘Meldrew and Greengrass, though, are the exceptions rather than the rule, she says.’
    • ‘In general the few exceptions are not allowed to be used as arguments for making bad law.’
    • ‘An exception to this general rule is formed by a cheque which bears on its front the letter R.’
    • ‘Some play this rule with the exception that a spread of three aces can be held.’
    • ‘A capable display by the man in the middle is now the exception rather than the rule.’
    • ‘There are always exceptions to the rule, but in general I think this is true.’
    • ‘There is an endless list of possible exceptions to this general outlook that may arise during the game.’
    • ‘Most give pretty basic info with not a lot of flash, but there are always exceptions to the rule.’
    • ‘An exception puts a rule to test, it does not and cannot prove it in any way.’
    • ‘The young girl featured in your article is the exception to the rule and I admire her for it.’
    • ‘I have a friend and neighbour called Peter Thomson who is an exception to the general rule.’
    • ‘While no two life sentences will be identical, exceptions to this general pattern will be rare.’
    • ‘I know it's a generalisation, and I'm always open to see the exceptions to the rule.’
    • ‘Those sort of mechanical problems are the exception rather than the rule nowadays.’
    • ‘There were only a few exceptions to this general pattern of noninvolvement.’
    • ‘Now the state welfare budget is being cut, and new rules will end these exceptions.’
    • ‘Mr Gray believes the road should be treated as an exception to the rules because it is terraced.’
    • ‘Luckily there is always an exception to every rule and this one is no different.’
    anomaly, irregularity, deviation, special case, departure, inconsistency, quirk, peculiarity, abnormality, oddity
    View synonyms


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