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except1

[ik-sept]
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preposition
  1. with the exclusion of; excluding; save; but: They were all there except me.
conjunction
  1. only; with the exception (usually followed by that): parallel cases except that one is younger than the other.
  2. otherwise than; but (followed by an adv., phrase, or clause): well fortified except here.
  3. Archaic. unless.
Idioms
  1. except for, if it were not for: She would travel more except for lack of money.

Origin of except1

1350–1400; Middle English: orig., past participle adj. < Latin exceptus (past participle of excipere to take out), equivalent to ex- ex-1 + -ceptus (combining form of captus, past participle of capere to take)

Synonym study

1. Except (more rarely excepting ), but, save point out something excluded from a general statement. Except emphasizes the excluding: Take any number except 12. But merely states the exclusion: We ate all but one. Save is now mainly found in poetic use: nothing in sight save sky and sea.

except2

[ik-sept]
verb (used with object)
  1. to exclude; leave out: present company excepted.
verb (used without object)
  1. to object (usually followed by to or against): to except to a statement; to except against a witness.

Origin of except2

1350–1400; Middle English excepten < Middle French excepter < Latin exceptāre, derivative of exceptus (see except1)
Related formsex·cept·a·ble, adjectivenon·ex·cept·ed, adjectiveun·ex·cept·a·ble, adjectiveun·ex·cept·ed, adjective

Usage note

See accept.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for except

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I have no evidence, except your word, that any such letter has been received.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • There was none to speak of left now except in Africa; and they were pessimistic about Africa.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • She says very little in the way of thanks, except to the Giver of all good.

  • Except for a very few words we do not know what sort of tongue it was.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • You know I do not care about money, except just to buy my clothes and things.

    Malbone

    Thomas Wentworth Higginson


British Dictionary definitions for except

except

preposition
  1. Also: except for other than; apart from; with the exception ofhe likes everyone except you; except for this mistake, you did very well
  2. except that (conjunction) but for the fact that; were it not true that
conjunction
  1. an archaic word for unless
  2. informal except that; but for the fact thatI would have arrived earlier, except I lost my way
verb
  1. (tr) to leave out; omit; exclude
  2. (intr often foll by to) rare to take exception; object

Word Origin

C14: from Old French excepter to leave out, from Latin exceptāre, from excipere to take out, from capere to take
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for except

v.

late 14c., "to receive," from Middle French excepter (12c.), from Latin exceptus, past participle of excipere "take out," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + capere "to take" (see capable). Meaning "to leave out" is from 1510s. Related: Excepted; excepting. Adjectival function led to use as a preposition, conjunction (late 14c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper