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

Vasilj said the center was looking at getting an exemption to sell drinks earlier in the day. Tessa Weinberg, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago bars opening early for World Cup final, but law will keep drinks from flowing right away," 12 July 2018 Golf Channel’s Kay Cockerill, a two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur champion and San Francisco resident, also landed an exemption into the field. Ron Kroichick, SFChronicle.com, "Stephen Curry, Mark Mulder and celebrity wagers highlight celebrity tournament," 12 July 2018 Anthem had been requesting an exemption to the rule. James Briggs, Indianapolis Star, "Anthem backs off plan to pave over Downtown Indianapolis green space for executive parking," 11 July 2018 Lynch also wrote about the problems such an exemption would create for police. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, "First Church of Cannabis says pot is a holy sacrament, but court ruling is a buzzkill," 10 July 2018 After reading the letter, Ray traveled to Washington, D.C., to lobby the federal government for an exemption to bring the group to Iowa. NBC News, "Former Iowa Gov. Robert Ray, dead at 89, remembered as champion of Vietnam War refugees," 9 July 2018 At the request of their parent company, U.S. Rep. David Price, D-N.C., wrote a letter of support for an exemption. Adelaide Chen, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Central Florida companies scramble ahead of Chinese tariffs," 5 July 2018 Donna White, owner of Golf Professional Services, was also given an exemption to play in the event as a former U.S. Amateur champion but has declined the invitation due to her retirement from competition. Craig Davis, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Palm Beach golf instructors qualify for U.S. Senior Women's Open," 5 July 2018 Strong said the ordinance has an exemption if a truck is making a delivery. Craig Lyons, Post-Tribune, "Lake County advances vehicle weight limit regulation," 5 July 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

21 Sep 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).


an open space surrounded by woods

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Syn City

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!