ex·​empt | \ ig-ˈzem(p)t \

Definition of exempt

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 obsolete : set apart
2 : free or released from some liability or requirement to which others are subject was exempt from jury duty the estate was exempt from taxes


exempted; exempting; exempts

Definition of exempt (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

: to release or deliver from some liability or requirement to which others are subject exempted from military service



Definition of exempt (Entry 3 of 3)

: one exempted or freed from duty

Examples of exempt in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

After bumping into the 66,000-a-year limit for H2-B visas in recent years, businesses have lobbied to either increase the cap or exempt workers who received the visa in recent years from having to reapply. Ruth Simon, WSJ, "Businesses Report Glitches on Reopened Seasonal-Work Visa Website," 7 Jan. 2019 The law also bans the enforcement of noncompete agreements against what's known as non-exempt workers—hourly, generally low-wage workers who are eligible for overtime pay. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Massachusetts gives workers new protections against noncompete clauses," 21 Aug. 2018 The District and most states exempt workers who earn tips from the standard minimum wage — allowing employers to pay servers, bartenders, bellhops and others just a few dollars an hour, on the assumption that gratuities will pump up their pay. Tim Carman, Washington Post, "Tipping the pay scales: Initiative 77 could dramatically alter D.C. restaurant culture," 16 June 2018 Richardson told board members other agencies of their size typically had around five exempt employees. Trisha Powell Crain, AL.com, "Alabama education department cuts positions, pay in reorganization," 13 Apr. 2018 Important to note is that the 2019 budget includes three days of unpaid furlough for exempt employees earning over $100,000. Anchorage Daily News, "Members of the Anchorage School Board respond to Donley opinion column on budget," 25 Mar. 2018 The spokesperson did not directly respond when asked by Fox News if elected officials in governments that run their own dispensary chains would be exempt from this policy. Fox News, "Canadians could be banned from the US forever if they smoke legal pot," 21 Sep. 2018 Groundwater recharge and wastewater recycling basins would also be exempt. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Trump’s Regulatory Dredging," 11 Dec. 2018 Under previous law, veterans were exempt from the cap on the Defense Department’s Basic Housing Allowances rate and could therefore receive slightly more. Emily Stewart, Vox, "The VA’s latest issues paying student veterans their benefits, explained," 11 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Passing the exam exempts you from taking a road test at the DMV and entitles you to a 10 percent discount on your insurance. Chuck Tannert, Popular Mechanics, "Here's How to Learn to Ride a Motorcycle and Get Your Motorcycle License," 7 Feb. 2019 To often the school would turn a blind eye to protect their athletes and exempt them from decency and respect for people period. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "Caelynn Sharing Her Story on the 'Bachelor' Is a Turning Point For the Series," 29 Jan. 2019 Back in November, the Trump administration released two final rules that would give employers much more room to exempt themselves from providing birth control to their employees at no out-of-pocket cost. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "A Federal Judge Blocked the Trump Administration's New Birth Control Rules in 13 States and D.C.," 14 Jan. 2019 But the prestige of these journals doesn’t exempt them from problems that have been plaguing science for decades. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Social science has a complicated, infinitely tricky replication crisis," 28 Aug. 2018 Simpson, the implication goes, wrongly thought his own success would exempt him from the reality of race in America. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s Surprise Album Makes Marriage Into a Spectacle," 17 June 2018 The state also exempted the company from doing an Environmental Impact Statement. Bruce Murphy, The Verge, "Wisconsin’s $4.1 billion Foxconn boondoggle," 29 Oct. 2018 Initially, Congress exempted all dealership employees. April Boyer And Yamilet Hurtado, miamiherald, "Ruling on overtime exemption for dealership service advisors may have broader consequences," 10 June 2018 Councilmember Debora Juarez suggested diapers also be considered as an item for the city to exempt from its portion of the sales tax. Daniel Beekman, The Seattle Times, "Seattle would consider exempting tampons from sales tax under City Council proposal," 30 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Senate plan also places sales taxes on upgrades to homes and buildings -- such as installing new window treatments and new roofs -- that are currently tax exempt. Julia O'donoghue, NOLA.com, "Louisiana Senate passes budget with TOPS, health care money -- and more taxes," 3 June 2018 Harrisburg is burdened by the fact that a majority of its real estate is owned by the state or is tax exempt. Michaelle Bond, Philly.com, "How Pa.'s 'distressed' program helps towns; and why it's hard to leave it," 16 Mar. 2018 By the end of the current abatement, the building will have been tax exempt for 15 years. Sharon Coolidge, Cincinnati.com, "How many times should taxpayers pay for the same granite counters?," 13 Dec. 2017 The department is taking more steps to detect fraud, including checking the IRS website to see if an organization really is tax exempt, said Jeff Fleming, spokesman for the department. Mary Spicuzza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Lax city oversight allowed sham nonprofit to snag and flip Milwaukee properties," 3 Nov. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exempt.' 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 exempt


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1532, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for exempt


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin exemptus, past participle of eximere to take out — more at example

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Statistics for exempt

Last Updated

20 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for exempt

The first known use of exempt was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for exempt



English Language Learners Definition of exempt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not required to do something that others are required to do



English Language Learners Definition of exempt (Entry 2 of 2)

: to say that (someone or something) does not have to do something that others are required to do : to make (someone or something) exempt


ex·​empt | \ ig-ˈzempt \

Kids Definition of exempt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: free or released from some requirement that other persons must meet or deal with I'm exempt from the test.


exempted; exempting

Kids Definition of exempt (Entry 2 of 2)

: to release from a requirement that others must meet


ex·​empt | \ ig-ˈzempt \

Legal Definition of exempt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: free or released from some obligation or duty to which others are subject : not subject or liable certain properties are declared to be exempt and cannot be taken by a person's creditors— J. H. Williamson

Legal Definition of exempt (Entry 2 of 2)

: to release or exclude from some liability (as in taxation), obligation, or duty to which others are subject exempts the income of a spendthrift trust— W. M. McGovern, Jr. et al.

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More from Merriam-Webster on exempt

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with exempt

Spanish Central: Translation of exempt

Nglish: Translation of exempt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exempt for Arabic Speakers

Comments on exempt

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


excited commotion or publicity

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