ex·​cep·​tion·​al·​ism ik-ˈsep-sh(ə-)nə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce exceptionalism (audio)
: the condition of being different from the norm
also : a theory expounding the exceptionalism especially of a nation or region
exceptionalist adjective

Examples of exceptionalism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Reagan’s ideas of American exceptionalism have been supplanted by Trump’s populist story of apocalyptic decline. Alexander Hinton, The Conversation, 26 Feb. 2024 But at their core, her ideas are rooted in beliefs of Jewish exceptionalism and her policies have no room for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian strife. Clarissa Ward, CNN, 20 Mar. 2024 But as Sarah suggests at the top, one unintended consequence of this unique blend of exceptionalism and dysfunction is that London truly is a wildly stimulating environment in which to carve out a creative identity. Sarah Mower, Vogue, 20 Feb. 2024 This is a towering achievement, combining an intimate character study with large-canvas exploration of scientific obsession, American exceptionalism and political gamesmanship, while also demonstrating that movies tackling knotty subjects don’t need to be dumbed down to draw a rapt audience. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 Mar. 2024 At the turn of the millennium, just after the Sept. 11 attacks, Keith, who died Monday at 62, released a string of songs that were notable for their political stridency, commitment to American exceptionalism and flexed-bicep threat. Jon Caramanica, New York Times, 7 Feb. 2024 In the 1920s, the German sociologist Max Weber’s posthumous writings introduced our modern understanding of charisma as authority based on exceptionalism, a quality that distinguishes popular politicians. Adrienne Matei, The Atlantic, 11 Dec. 2023 Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack, is much more of the American spirit and exceptionalism practiced and aspired to in between the coasts, than WFB. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, 8 Dec. 2023 But while American exceptionalism may or may not be real in the political realm, it’s been front and center in the remarkable performance of the U.S. economy and stock market over the past few years. Will Daniel, Fortune, 3 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'exceptionalism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1929, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of exceptionalism was in 1929

Dictionary Entries Near exceptionalism

Cite this Entry

“Exceptionalism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exceptionalism. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

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