- proves the rule, the. A widely misunderstood expression. As a moment’s thought should confirm, it isn’t possible for an exception to confirm a rule - but then, that isn’t the sense that was originally intended. Prove here is a "fossil" - that is, a word or phrase that is now meaningless except within the confines of certain sayings (hem and haw, rank and file, and to and fro are other fossil expressions). Originally prove meant test (it comes from the Latin probo, "I test"), so "the exception proves the rule" meant - and really still ought to mean - that the exception tests the rule. The original meaning of prove is preserved more clearly in two other expressions: proving ground and the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors. 2013.
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exception — [ ɛksɛpsjɔ̃ ] n. f. • 1243 dr.; lat. exceptio, de excipere « retirer, excepter » → exciper 1 ♦ Action d excepter. Il ne sera fait aucune exception à cette consigne. ⇒ dérogation, restriction. Faire une exception pour qqn, en faveur de qqn. Faire… … Encyclopédie Universelle
exception — ex·cep·tion n 1: something that is excepted or excluded; esp: a situation to which a rule does not apply the supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exception s, and under such regulations as the… … Law dictionary
exception — Exception. s. f. v. L action par laquelle on excepte. Faire exception, une exception, sans exception. n y a t il point d exception? il n y a regle si generale qui n ait son exception. cela ne souffre point d exception. l exception confirme la… … Dictionnaire de l'Académie française
exception — et clause qui borne une generalité, Exceptio. Bailler exception, Dare exceptionem. Bailler toute puissance et authorité sans aucune exception, Infinitum imperium dare alicui, B. Ceste exception arreste le demandeur tout court, Haec obiecta… … Thresor de la langue françoyse
exception — [ek sep′shən, iksep′shən] n. [ME excepcioun < OFr exception < L exceptio] 1. an excepting or being excepted; omission; exclusion 2. anything that is excepted; specif., a) a case to which a rule, general principle, etc. does not apply b) a… … English World dictionary
exception — late 14c., from Anglo Fr. excepcioun, O.Fr. excepcion, from L. exceptionem (nom. exceptio), noun of action from pp. stem of excipere (see EXCEPT (Cf. except)). The exception that proves the rule is from law: exceptio probat regulam in casibus non … Etymology dictionary
exception — ► NOUN 1) a person or thing that is excepted or that does not follow a rule. 2) the action of excepting or the state of being excepted. ● the exception proves the rule Cf. ↑the exception proves the rule ● take exception to Cf. ↑ta … English terms dictionary
Exception — Ex*cep tion ([e^]k*s[e^]p sh[u^]n), n. [L. exceptio: cf. F. exception.] 1. The act of excepting or excluding; exclusion; restriction by taking out something which would otherwise be included, as in a class, statement, rule. [1913 Webster] 2. That … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
exception — The proverb the exception proves the rule means ‘the existence of an exception shows that a rule exists in those cases that are not exceptions’. It should not be used to mean ‘the exception becomes the rule’, although this is often found … Modern English usage
Exception — may refer to: * An action that is not part of ordinary operations or standards * exception handling * Exception (song), the second single from Ana Johnsson s second album Little Angel *Exceptional Records … Wikipedia
exception — [n1] leaving out barring, debarment, disallowment, excepting, exclusion, excusing, expulsion, noninclusion, omission, passing over, rejection, repudiation, reservation; concepts 25,30,211 Ant. admittal, admittance, allowance, inclusion exception… … New thesaurus