ex·​emp·​tion | \ig-ˈzem(p)-shən \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for exemption


immunity, impunity

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Another rule allowed some employers to claim an exemption due to a moral, non-religious objection to contraception. Anna North, Vox, "The Trump administration’s anti-birth control agenda, explained," 12 Nov. 2018 Trump administration exemptions on Iranian oil sanctions will be temporary. David Hodari, WSJ, "U.S. Oil Prices Mark Longest Losing Streak Since 1984," 9 Nov. 2018 Further Reading LucasArts’ long lost, 30-year-old MMO is now preserved on Github In new rulings issued last week, though, the LoC has expanded that exemption significantly. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Researchers can now legally restore “abandoned” online game servers," 29 Oct. 2018 In his veto, Walsh also scrapped the City Council’s attempts to provide exemptions for lawyers, if those lawyers are representing residents on routine matters before a city board. Milton J. Valencia, BostonGlobe.com, "Walsh vetoes city lobbying rules, calling proposal ‘inadequate’," 12 July 2018 Ignoring Abrams’ request to delay action to allow for talks between county and St. Johns staffs, commissioners voted unanimously to require permits for trucks weighing more than 10 tons, with an exemption for trash haulers and deliveries. Jerry Fallstrom, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Lake imposes weight limits on trucks in response to massive sand-removal plan," 12 July 2018 The White House issued a second version of the ban in March that removed Iraq from the list of affected countries and added new exemptions for certain travelers. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Supreme Court Upholds Presidential Bigotry," 26 June 2018 The travel restrictions now vary by country, and include some exemptions for students. Sara Reardon, Scientific American, "Top U.S. Court Upholds Trump Travel Ban: Student Visas Already in Decline," 26 June 2018 David Townsend, Founder of TCT Public Affairs Remove all fees and costs required for local government and give exemptions for low-income housing for requirements such as sprinklers and solar panels. Amy Chance, sacbee, ""Build a lot more of it": What California can do to solve its housing problem," 18 June 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of exemption

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about exemption

Statistics for exemption

Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for exemption

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

Kids Definition of exemption

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


ex·​emp·​tion | \ig-ˈzemp-shən \

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

c : homestead exemption

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on exemption

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


full of whispering sounds

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!