exception that proves the rule

Exception that proves the rule
This expression is used by many to indicate that an exception in some way confirms a rule. Others say that the exception tests the rule. In its original legal sense, it meant that a rule could sometimes be inferred from an exemption or exception. In general use, the first meaning predominates nowadays, much to the annoyance of some pedants.

The small dictionary of idiomes. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Exception that proves the rule — The exception [that] proves the rule is a frequently confused English idiom. The original meaning of this idiom is that the presence of an exception establishes that a general rule exists. Fowler s Modern English Usage identifies five ways in… …   Wikipedia

  • exception that proves the rule — noun a) A form of argument in which the existence of a counterexample to a rule is used to demonstrate the fact that a rule exists. b) The rare occurrence of a counterexample to a rule, used to underscore that the rule exists …   Wiktionary

  • (the) exception that proves the rule — the exception that proves the ˈrule idiom (saying) people say that sth is the exception that proves the rule when they are stating sth that seems to be different from the normal situation, but they mean that the normal situation remains true in… …   Useful english dictionary

  • be the exception that proves the rule — if you say something is the exception that proves the rule, you mean that although it does not support the statement you have made, the statement is usually true. This woman is the exception that proves the rule that it is impossible to be a… …   New idioms dictionary

  • the exception which proves the rule — Meaning The counter example that questions the validity of a rule. Origin This doesn t mean that a rule is proved to be correct by a counter example, which would be a logical nonsense. Proving here means testing the meaning being that the truth… …   Meaning and origin of phrases

  • the exception proves the rule — ‘The very fact of an exception proves there must be a rule’ (Brewer); now frequently misunderstood and used to justify inconsistency. Cf. L. exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis, the exception confirms the rule in cases not excepted.… …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • the exception proves the rule — 1. The existence of an exception to a supposed rule proves the general truth of the rule (often used in argument when no such conclusion is justified) 2. A distorted translation of a part of a legal Latin phrase meaning ‘the making of an… …   Useful english dictionary

  • the exception proves the rule — ► the exception proves the rule proverb the fact that some cases do not follow a rule proves that the rule applies in all other cases. Main Entry: ↑exception …   English terms dictionary

  • exception proves the rule — Something unusual that does not follow a rule tests that rule to see if it is true; if there are too many exceptions, the rule is no good. A proverb. * /Frank is very short but is a good basketball player. He is the exception that proves the rule …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • exception proves the rule — Something unusual that does not follow a rule tests that rule to see if it is true; if there are too many exceptions, the rule is no good. A proverb. * /Frank is very short but is a good basketball player. He is the exception that proves the rule …   Dictionary of American idioms

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