ex·cep·tion·al | \ ik-ˈsep-shnəl , -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 \ 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

Getty Images Since 2014, the Young Leaders Awards has celebrated the exceptional service and dedication of people ages 18–29 across the Commonwealth. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "David Beckham Showed His Support for the Queen at the Young Leaders Awards," 26 June 2018 Players like Ruben Neves, Ryan Sessegnon and James Maddison have exceptional quality. SI.com, "Jurgen Klopp Reveals the Key Attributes He Looks for in Potential New Liverpool Signings," 2 May 2018 This old-vine bottling delivers exceptional quality for the price. Lettie Teague, WSJ, "The Budget-Wine Hall of Fame," 29 Mar. 2018 My job was meeting the needs of the customers and providing the customer with exceptional quality and service. Peter Marteka, Courant Community, "Longtime Glastonbury Parks And Recreation Director Says Goodbye," 2 Mar. 2018 The fact that my focus in this piece was less about the film as product and more about its politics is itself an accomplishment, a signifier of its exceptional quality. Rahawa Haile, Longreads, "How Black Panther Asks Us to Examine Who We Are To One Another," 23 Feb. 2018 For a player with decent but not exceptional power, the severity of that flaw — over six seasons in the minor leagues, his strikeout rate is an astronomical 35.2 percent — continues to be a massive roadblock to any major-league aspirations. Ben Pope, Philly.com, "Phillies prospect Jan Hernandez hopes all-star selection puts him 'on the map'," 11 July 2018 People familiar with the purple family model tend to view his alienation from his children’s mother as normal and his closeness to his children as exceptional and admirable. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Trump’s sexual misconduct does not embody working class family values.," 2 July 2018 His game—full of craft and exceptional angles, and a lot speed on the run—has been perfect for grass. Tom Perrotta, WSJ, "Andy Murray Won’t Play Wimbledon," 1 July 2018

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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Last Updated

10 Sep 2018

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 \

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).


a magnificent or impressive array

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