from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Being an exception; uncommon.
  • adj. Well above average; extraordinary: an exceptional memory. See Usage Note at exceptionable.
  • adj. Deviating widely from a norm, as of physical or mental ability: special educational provisions for exceptional children.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Forming an exception; not ordinary; uncommon; rare.
  • adj. Better than the average; superior due to rarity.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Forming an exception; not ordinary; uncommon; rare; hence, better than the average; superior.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Relating to or forming an exception; contrary to the rule; out of the regular or ordinary course.
  • Synonyms Irregular, unusual, uncommou, unnatural, peculiar, anomalous.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. deviating widely from a norm of physical or mental ability; used especially of children below normal in intelligence
  • adj. far beyond what is usual in magnitude or degree
  • adj. surpassing what is common or usual or expected


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Hours before the vote, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner praised what he called her "exceptional talent and broad experience."

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  • His book is full of examples of what he calls "exceptional patients" who used their illness experience to give themselves permission to find their true, authentic selves and in so doing, creatively induced a type of self-healing.

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  • We have got some very extreme drought conditions into the southwest but it's right here in the Southeast where we have what we call exceptional drought.

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  • Suppose some strange fancy had seized upon my imagination -- that is the doctor's cant word for all phenomena which we call exceptional -- some strange fancy that

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  • The German court found that enacting any data retention legislation requires a regard for what it termed the exceptional intensity of the interference with human rights that result from such measures.

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  • In another development, Egypt closed the Rafah crossing to all but what it called exceptional cases on Thursday.

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  • Now, after five years of her daughter receiving what she calls exceptional care, Zeller is concerned the hospital will close, forcing her to travel to and from her Suffield home to Boston - a trip three times as long - to find another pediatrician who specializes in childhood arthritis.

    Reader -

  • Now, I've left aside numerous issues -- you rarely know * whether* the subject actually has the intel you seek, or is even really a "bad guy" -- torture is most useful for extracting confessions to what you want to hear (historically, that's how it's been used) -- and once torture is condoned in "exceptional" cases, it tends to quickly spread, because everything starts to look like a nail when you have a hammer.


  • WOODRUFF: Senator, I want to come back to something you said earlier, I think you used the word exceptional and unique about being an American.

    CNN Transcript Sep 11, 2008

  • At a time that some described as exceptional, how much would some have given for having Cuba vote yes on this resolution.

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