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 exceptionality (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

But what really made Tucker exceptional was her voice: a husky alto that, from the beginning, had a knowingness to it, honed sharp. David Cantwell, The New Yorker, "Tanya Tucker’s New Album Might Be the Best of Her Long, Underrated Career," 23 Aug. 2019 Its history and legacy of sustained inequality is exceptional. Kelley Fanto Deetz, The Conversation, "Setting the historical record straight for the critics of The New York Times project on slavery in America," 23 Aug. 2019 Both teams have been in exceptional form during pre-season, with Burnley being defeated only once, and the Saints managed to remain unbeaten. SI.com, "Burnley vs Southampton Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News," 8 Aug. 2019 While the struggle to protect the environment and indigenous lands is not unique to Brazil, the specifics of the Amazon are exceptional. Andre Pagliarini, The New Republic, "What Indigenous Rights Have to Do With Fighting Climate Change," 7 Aug. 2019 Her returns were exceptional, repeatedly getting back serves that left Williams' racket at 115 mph or more. Howard Fendrich, Houston Chronicle, "Simona Halep stuns Serena Williams for Wimbledon title," 13 July 2019 This suit and collared shirt are from @limatusbespoke and the cut of this suit is exceptional! Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Will Mike Johnson Be the Next 'Bachelor'? Here Are the Potential Clues," 18 June 2019 Tim's technical knowledge and ability to command an emergency were exceptional. Fox News, "Helicopter pilot killed in New York City crash is former volunteer fire chief, department officials say," 11 June 2019 Numbers that showed how tragically exceptional America is in its gun violence. Edward Felsenthal, Time, "The Story Behind TIME's Gun Violence Cover," 9 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for exceptional

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for exceptional

The first known use of exceptional was in 1787

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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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Comments on exceptional

What made you want to look up exceptional? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


readily or continually undergoing change

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