ex·​cep·​tion·​al | \ ik-ˈsep-shnəl How to pronounce exceptional (audio) , -shə-nᵊl \

Definition of exceptional

1 : forming an exception : rare an exceptional number of rainy days
2 : better than average : superior exceptional skill
3 : deviating from the norm: such as
a : having above or below average intelligence
b : physically disabled

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Other Words from exceptional

exceptionality \ ik-​ˌsep-​shə-​ˈna-​lə-​tē How to pronounce exceptional (audio) \ noun
exceptionalness noun

Examples of exceptional in a Sentence

We're bending the rules for this exceptional situation. an exceptional student in math The seafood dishes at this restaurant are exceptional. a separate school for exceptional children
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Recent Examples on the Web This spring, the Klamath Basin is already in extreme and exceptional drought—one of the worst drought years in four decades. Anna V. Smith, Wired, 5 June 2021 Why The newest of Zambia’s exceptional and undeveloped wildlife areas, on the north bank of the Zambezi River, was until 1983 a private game reserve of Zambia’s president—and thus protected from mass tourism. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, 2 June 2021 Here are some ways values can help guide important aspects of growth in your organization: Building an exceptional team. Max Lytvyn, Forbes, 19 May 2021 This group could become the most exceptional team in baseball history. Paul Newberry, Star Tribune, 23 Apr. 2021 The exceptional sound quality makes the headphones worth every penny of its $348 price tag, and its extra bells and whistles only add to their value. Nina Huang, EW.com, 22 Apr. 2021 The Bears realize a big offensive contribution by Butler at this point is merely a bonus to what’s been an exceptional team effort to date in Indianapolis. Brent Zwerneman, San Antonio Express-News, 2 Apr. 2021 This is an exceptional Jazz team, perhaps its best ever, charging out of the All-Star break with a league-best 27-9 record. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, 13 Mar. 2021 Juniors Aminah Vega and Grace Taylor were exceptional for a team that fielded six seniors. J.c. Carnahan, orlandosentinel.com, 27 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exceptional.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of exceptional

1787, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for exceptional

Time Traveler

The first known use of exceptional was in 1787

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Statistics for exceptional

Last Updated

14 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Exceptional.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exceptional. Accessed 16 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for exceptional



English Language Learners Definition of exceptional

: not usual : unusual or uncommon
: unusually good : much better than average
: mentally or physically disabled


ex·​cep·​tion·​al | \ ik-ˈsep-shə-nᵊl How to pronounce exceptional (audio) \

Kids Definition of exceptional

1 : being unusual an exceptional amount of rain
2 : better than average : superior

Other Words from exceptional

exceptionally adverb


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