ex·​emp·​tion | \ ig-ˈzem(p)-shən How to pronounce exemption (audio) \

Definition of exemption

1 : the act of exempting or state of being exempt : immunity
2 : one that exempts or is exempted especially : a source or amount of income exempted from taxation

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Synonyms for exemption


immunity, impunity

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Examples of exemption in a Sentence

They were granted exemptions from military service. You can claim a tax exemption for each of your dependents.

Recent Examples on the Web

On Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed two bills -- SB 276 and a companion bill SB 714 -- limiting medical exemptions for vaccines. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "California Senate floor is evacuated after a protester dumps apparent blood on lawmakers," 14 Sep. 2019 San Antonio was the only city among Texas’ five largest metros that didn’t have a general homestead exemption for owners’ primary residences. Joshua Fechter, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio’s new $2.9 billion budget to fund affordable housing, domestic violence prevention," 12 Sep. 2019 Though South Korean athletes have been granted exemptions from signing up before, K-pop groups are historically not. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "Here’s the Real Reason Why Jin Is Likely to Take a Break from BTS in 2020," 9 Sep. 2019 Because of its unusual level of welfare dependency, the island was one of a handful of U.S. communities granted exemptions to welfare reform laws during the Clinton administration. Wade Graham, Smithsonian, "Why Molokai, With All Its Wonders, Is the Least Developed of Hawai’i’s Islands," 31 Aug. 2019 State lawmakers have broad authority to grant exemptions to antitrust law. David Scharfenberg, BostonGlobe.com, "Boston’s middle class is getting crushed — does anyone care?," 30 Aug. 2019 Senate Bill 276 was revised in June to focus more on doctors who improperly grant those exemptions — an effort that did little to assuage vaccine critics. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: California’s rent costs, privacy and vaccine rules take the spotlight in Sacramento," 12 Aug. 2019 The top four players in the most recent World Amateur Golf Rankings have been granted exemptions into the field for the Travelers Championship, the tournament announced on Thursday. Staff Report, courant.com, "Top amateurs gain entry into Travelers Championship field," 6 June 2019 The debate has periodically flared up over issues like religious students’ exemption from military service and lifting rules that prohibit most buses, trains and stores from operating on the Sabbath. New York Times, "How Jewish Should the Jewish State Be? The Question Shadows an Israeli Vote," 12 Sep. 2019

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for exemption

Last Updated

19 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for exemption

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

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More Definitions for exemption



English Language Learners Definition of exemption

: freedom from being required to do something that others are required to do
: a source or amount of income that is not taxed


ex·​emp·​tion | \ ig-ˈzemp-shən How to pronounce exemption (audio) \

Kids Definition of exemption

: freedom from having to do something that other people are required to do


ex·​emp·​tion | \ ig-ˈzemp-shən How to pronounce exemption (audio) \

Legal Definition of exemption

1 : the act of exempting or state of being exempt
2 : one that exempts or is exempted: as
a : an amount of income exempted from taxation that may be deducted from adjusted gross income under the tax laws — see also Internal Revenue Code — compare deduction, exclusion, tax credit
dependency exemption \ də-​ˈpen-​dən-​sē-​ \
: an exemption that is allowed for each dependent who qualifies under the tax laws (as sections 151 and 152 of the Internal Revenue Code)

Note: Under the federal income tax laws, the dependency exemption is allowed for each dependent whose gross income is less than the exemption or who is a child of the taxpayer and is under 19 or a student under 24.

personal exemption
: an exemption that is allowed for the taxpayer or for the taxpayer and spouse if filing a joint return
b : the right created by federal and state laws to exempt specified types of property from a bankruptcy estate precludes the debtor from using the exemptions in the Bankruptcy Code also : a type of property that may be claimed as exempt — see also Bankruptcy Code

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