1. the act of excepting or the fact of being excepted.
  2. something excepted; an instance or case not conforming to the general rule.
  3. an adverse criticism, especially on a particular point; opposition of opinion; objection; demurral: a statement liable to exception.
  4. Law.
    1. an objection, as to a ruling of the court in the course of a trial.
    2. a notation that an objection is preserved for purposes of appeal: saving an exception.
  1. take exception,
    1. to make an objection; demur: They took exception to several points in the contract.
    2. to take offense: She took exception to what I said about her brother.


  1. the act of excepting or fact of being excepted; omission
  2. anything excluded from or not in conformance with a general rule, principle, class, etc
  3. criticism, esp when it is adverse; objection
  4. law (formerly) a formal objection in the course of legal proceedings
  5. law a clause or term in a document that restricts the usual legal effect of the document
  6. take exception
    1. (usually foll by to)to make objections (to); demur (at)
    2. (often foll by at)to be offended (by); be resentful (at)

late 14c., from Anglo-French excepcioun, Old French excepcion, from Latin exceptionem (nominative exceptio), noun of action from past participle stem of excipere (see except).

The exception that proves the rule is from law: exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis, “the exception proves the rule in cases not excepted;” exception here being “action of excepting” someone or something from the rule in question, not the person or thing that is excepted. To take exception is from excipere being used in Roman law as a modern attorney would say objection.

In addition to the idioms beginning with exception

  • exception proves the rule, the

also see:

  • except for (with the exception of)
  • make an exception
  • take exception to

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