exceptionable

exceptionable
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.

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  • Exceptionable — Ex*cep tion*a*ble ([e^]k*s[e^]p sh[u^]n*[.a]*b l), a. Liable to exception or objection; objectionable. {Ex*cep tion*a*ble*ness}, n. [1913 Webster] This passage I look upon to be the most exceptionable in the whole poem. Addison. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • exceptionable — index blameful, objectionable, peccable, reprehensible, sinister, unacceptable, undesirable Burton s Legal Thesaurus. W …   Law dictionary

  • exceptionable — 1660s, from EXCEPTION (Cf. exception) + ABLE (Cf. able). Related: Exceptionably …   Etymology dictionary

  • exceptionable — *exceptional Analogous words: Offensive, repugnant, loathsome, repulsive, revolting: repellent, distasteful, obnoxious, invidious, *repugnant Antonyms: unexceptionable: exemplary Contrasted words: pleasing, agreeable, gratifying, *pleasant,… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • exceptionable — ► ADJECTIVE formal ▪ open to objection; causing disapproval or offence …   English terms dictionary

  • exceptionable — [ek sep′shənə bəl, ik sep′shənə bəl] adj. liable to exception; open to objection exceptionably adv …   English World dictionary

  • exceptionable — adjective Date: 1691 being likely to cause objection ; objectionable < visitors even drink the exceptionable beer W. D. Howells > • exceptionability noun • exceptionably adverb …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • exceptionable — See exceptionable, exceptional …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • exceptionable — adjective formal making you feel offended and angry: a highly exceptionable remark …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • exceptionable, exceptional — These often confused words are not interchangeable. The former means objectionable ; the latter means extraordinary, uncommon, unusual : The judge ruled the behavior of the witness exceptionable and had him removed from the courtroom. Martha has… …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

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