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

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 Then there is the exceptional size of China’s visible machinery of repression and surveillance. The Economist, "Huawei is trying to solve a hard problem," 8 Aug. 2019 Numbers that showed how tragically exceptional America is in its gun violence. Molly Bohannon, azcentral, "TIME Magazine: There have been more than 250 mass shootings in 2019. 5 were in Arizona," 8 Aug. 2019 Lead by example As a student in Detroit, Brown-Philpot decided to study and pursue a career in accounting because of an exceptional high school accounting teacher who made a lasting impression on her. Renee Morad, NBC News, "How TaskRabbit's Stacy Brown-Philpot is creating one of the most diverse workforces in Silicon Valley," 8 Aug. 2019 Returner Brian Pearse, a top athlete, has looked exceptional at the slot and defensive back positions, and senior playmaker RB/S Avant Muldrow (5-6, 165) is a two-way starter and returning all-league pick. Matt Schwab, The Mercury News, "Bay Area Preps HQ football preview: No. 9 Pittsburg," 8 Aug. 2019 In 2018 and 2019, a net profit of Rs49 crore and Rs60 crore respectively, both bolstered by large gains in exceptional items. Girish Shahane, Quartz India, "Why Café Coffee Day’s immense popularity didn’t translate into big profits," 1 Aug. 2019 On a positive note, though, some truly exceptional AR/VR experiences were still to be found at Comic-Con in 2019: one rare, the other unique. Peter Rubin, WIRED, "Comic-Con's Batman VR Experience Soars—While Others Fall Flat," 20 July 2019 That will be made up for with the chance of an exceptional summer. Tom Stienstra, SFChronicle.com, "Planning a trip to California’s far north this summer? Read this first.," 7 June 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

13 Aug 2019

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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).


a period when something is suspended

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