exceptional

exceptional, exceptionable
These adjectives relate to different meanings of exception. Exceptional means ‘unusual, not typical’, i.e. ‘forming an exception’ in a favourable sense:

• Schizophrenes are often held to be people of exceptional charm —D. Cory, 1977

• You could get an exceptional trade-in price for your old car —Sunday Express, 1980.

Exceptionable means ‘to which exception may be taken’, i.e. ‘open to objection’:

• Prince later wrote to Gould when he was in Australia, complaining that Alfred Newton had been ‘far, far too complimentary’ about Lear's part in the publication, ‘particularly when we know that most of the subscribers are of the opinion that his plates are almost the only exceptionable part of your work’ —I. Tree, 1991.

It is not a common word (there are only a few examples in the OEC), and it is more often used in the negative form unexceptionable, meaning ‘not open to objection, perfectly satisfactory’. All the more surprising, then, that exceptionable is occasionally found used erroneously for exceptional:

• ☒ The establishment Whigs…came to argue that resistance was only allowable in exceptionable circumstances, such as those of 1688 —T. Harris, 1993.


Modern English usage. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • exceptional — ex‧cep‧tion‧al [ɪkˈsepʆnəl] adjective 1. ACCOUNTING an exceptional cost etc is one that does not occur regularly: • a $34 million exceptional restructuring charge 2. very good, or much better than usual: • The last decade produced exceptional… …   Financial and business terms

  • excepţional — EXCEPŢIONÁL, Ă, excepţionali, e, adj. 1. Care face, care constituie o excepţie, care iese din comun; deosebit. 2. Foarte bun, excelent, extraordinar, remarcabil, grozav (3). ♦ (Adverbial; cu determinări introduse prin prep. de , formează… …   Dicționar Român

  • exceptional — exceptional, exceptionable, although not synonyms, are liable to confusion. Something is exceptional which is itself an exception, and so is out of the ordinary, being either extraordinary or unusual {this is an exceptional opportunity} {the bath …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Exceptional — Ex*cep tion*al, a. [Cf. F. exceptionnel.] Forming an exception; not ordinary; uncommon; rare; hence, better than the average; superior. Lyell. [1913 Webster] This particular spot had exceptional advantages. Jowett (Th. ) {Ex*cep tion*al*ly}, adv …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • exceptional — [adj1] irregular aberrant, abnormal, anomalous, atypical, deviant, distinct, extraordinary, inconsistent, infrequent, notable, noteworthy, odd, peculiar, phenomenal, rare, remarkable, scarce, singular, special, strange, uncommon, uncustomary,… …   New thesaurus

  • exceptional — [ek sep′shə nəl, iksep′shə nəl] adj. 1. constituting, or occurring as, an exception; not ordinary or average; esp., much above average in quality, ability, etc. [exceptional talents ] ☆ 2. needing special attention or presenting a special problem …   English World dictionary

  • exceptional — index atypical, best, extraordinary, individual, infrequent, irregular (not usual), notable, noteworthy …   Law dictionary

  • exceptional — 1846, from EXCEPTION (Cf. exception) + AL (Cf. al) (1). Related: exceptionally …   Etymology dictionary

  • exceptional — ► ADJECTIVE 1) unusual; not typical. 2) unusually good. DERIVATIVES exceptionally adverb …   English terms dictionary

  • exceptional — adj. VERBS ▪ be ▪ remain ▪ consider sb/sth ▪ The teacher considers Jamie s performance truly exceptional. ▪ do sth A …   Collocations dictionary

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