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

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

Sunday’s victory earned Wolff a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour, spots in all the majors — including his favorite, The Masters — along with the FedEx Cup playoffs and the Tournament of Champions. Tad Reeve, Twin Cities, "Tad Reeve: Longtime friends share 3M Open’s spotlight," 8 July 2019 EVs’ exemption from ferry fares hurts boat operators, critics say. Brett Berk, WIRED, "Norway Invites You to Explore Its Electric Vehicle Paradise," 6 July 2019 At the same time, governments across Europe are pressuring airlines to be more accountable: The French government recently called for EU executives to end a global tax exemption for jet fuel to reduce air travel and, in turn, emissions. Natasha Frost, Quartz, "The Netherlands’ national airline is encouraging people not to fly," 4 July 2019 The exemption form warns parents their children can be barred from school if the health department is trying to control the spread of illness. Anne Saker, Cincinnati.com, "Vaccines: Kentucky students lose appeal of ban during chickenpox outbreak," 1 July 2019 The Blazers were granted a hardship exemption and allowed to sign a 16th player to the roster when several members of the team were injured during the course of the season. Tim Brown, oregonlive.com, "Anthony Tolliver signs 1-year, $2.6 million deal with Portland Trail Blazers: Report," 1 July 2019 With the win, Lashley earns a two-year PGA Tour exemption and a spot into next year's Masters. Daniel Rapaport, SI.com, "Nate Lashley, Who Has Overcome Unspeakable Tragedy, Wins Rocket Mortgage," 30 June 2019 Advertising This year, Washington has had 82 cases, or about 8% of the 1,077 cases reported in the United States, which prompted state lawmakers to ban exemptions to the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine except for religious or medical reasons. Asia Fields, The Seattle Times, "10th confirmed measles case in Puget Sound outbreak, exposure at Seattle Children’s," 28 June 2019 On Thursday, California’s Assembly Health Committee passed legislation that will limit vaccination exemptions in the state’s public and private schools. Lydia Wang, refinery29.com, "Despite Oppositions From Jessica Biel, California Passed That Vaccination Bill," 25 June 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.

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

13 Jul 2019

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 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

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).


food or victuals

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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!