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

The new deal changes the exemption for newer properties from those built within the past 10 years to within the past 15. USA TODAY, "Cat burglar, prison bats, USS Arizona Memorial: News from around our 50 states," 4 Sep. 2019 Several universities have the same exemption for different reasons including religious affiliation and ethnic diversity. Lauren M. Johnson, CNN, "An Australian university is prioritizing women applicants to address a gender disparity in certain fields," 30 Aug. 2019 There has been an appalling 500 percent increase in religious exemptions for kindergarteners since 1987. BostonGlobe.com, "Should Massachusetts eliminate religious exemptions for vaccines required of children?," 23 Aug. 2019 An anti-vaccine activist was cited for misdemeanor assault Wednesday after shoving a California lawmaker who has worked to limit exemptions for childhood vaccinations. CBS News, "Anti-vaccine activist livestreams himself shoving California lawmaker who wrote vaccination bills," 22 Aug. 2019 After public outcry, Google announced exemptions for existing Works with Nest connections until they can be replicated in the new Works with Google Assistant program. Thomas Ricker, The Verge, "IFTTT warns its Nest users not to migrate to Google accounts," 20 Aug. 2019 While many city liquor laws have open-container exemptions for vehicles for hire (e.g. limos, buses), that didn’t explicitly include party bikes. Priya Krishna, Bon Appétit, "Are You Even Having a Good Time If It’s Not on a Party Bike?," 8 Aug. 2019 Public bodies can claim exemptions for reasons of privacy, an ongoing investigation, national security and other reasons. Detroit Free Press, "How to use the Michigan Freedom of Information Act," 1 Aug. 2019 Still, much of the conversation in Washington concerned the legality of Trump's move and the strength of the precedent for using the emergency exemption for arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Fox News, "Trump administration gets green light to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, after Senate rejects veto overrides," 30 July 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

7 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for exemption

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

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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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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).


recurring in steady succession

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