forming an exception or rare instance; unusual; extraordinary: The warm weather was exceptional for January.
unusually excellent; superior: an exceptional violinist.
Education. (of a child)
  1. being intellectually gifted.
  2. being physically or especially mentally disabled to an extent that special schooling is required.

Origin of exceptional

First recorded in 1840–50; exception + -al1
Related formsex·cep·tion·al·i·ty, nounex·cep·tion·al·ly, adverbex·cep·tion·al·ness, nounnon·ex·cep·tion·al, adjectivenon·ex·cep·tion·al·ly, adverbpre·ex·cep·tion·al, adjectivepre·ex·cep·tion·al·ly, adverbqua·si-ex·cep·tion·al, adjectivequa·si-ex·cep·tion·al·ly, adverbsu·per·ex·cep·tion·al, adjectivesu·per·ex·cep·tion·al·ly, adverb
Can be confusedexceptionable exceptional

Synonyms for exceptional

Antonyms for exceptional

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for exceptionally

abnormally, especially, particularly

Examples from the Web for exceptionally

Contemporary Examples of exceptionally

Historical Examples of exceptionally

  • This pleased Paula exceptionally well and she said he must sing it to her often again.

    Moni the Goat-Boy

    Johanna Spyri

  • At the place where this was noticed, however, the current was not exceptionally swift.

  • Exceptionally one finds old men of 80 who are still capable.

  • "Exceptionally beautiful; exceptionally admirable," he corrected.

    The Lion's Skin

    Rafael Sabatini

  • One that is exceptionally rich in oxygen, as is true of all the spheres we handle.

British Dictionary definitions for exceptionally



forming an exception; not ordinary
having much more than average intelligence, ability, or skill
Derived Formsexceptionally, adverb
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 exceptionally


1846, from exception + -al (1). Related: exceptionally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper