verb (used with object)

to free from an obligation or liability to which others are subject; release: to exempt a student from an examination.


released from, or not subject to, an obligation, liability, etc.: organizations exempt from taxes.


a person who is exempt from an obligation, duty, etc.
(in Britain) exon.

Origin of exempt

1325–75; (adj.) Middle English < Old French < Latin exemptus, past participle of eximere to take out, free, release, equivalent to ex- ex-1 + emptus (past participle of emere to buy, obtain); (v.) late Middle English exempten < Old French exempter, derivative of exempt
Related formsex·empt·i·ble, adjectivenon·ex·empt, adjective, nounpre·ex·empt, verb (used with object)qua·si-ex·empt, adjectiveun·ex·empt, adjectiveun·ex·empt·ed, adjectiveun·ex·empt·i·ble, adjectiveun·ex·empt·ing, adjective

Synonyms for exempt

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

British Dictionary definitions for pre-exempt



(tr) to release from an obligation, liability, tax, etc; excuseto exempt a soldier from drill

adjective (sometimes postpositive)

freed from or not subject to an obligation, liability, tax, etc; excusedexempt gilts; tax-exempt bonus
obsolete set apart; remote


a person who is exempt from an obligation, tax, etc
Derived Formsexemption, noun

Word Origin for exempt

C14: from Latin exemptus removed, from eximere to take out, from emere to buy, obtain
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 pre-exempt



late 14c., from Old French exempt (13c.) and directly from Latin exemptus, past participle of eximere "remove, take out, take away; free, release, deliver, make an exception of," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + emere "buy," originally "take," from PIE root *em- "to take, distribute" (cf. Latin sumere "to take, obtain, buy," Old Church Slavonic imo "to take," Lithuanian imui, Sanskrit yamati "holds, subdues"). For sense shift from "take" to "buy," compare Old English sellan "to give," source of Modern English sell "to give in exchange for money;" Hebrew laqah "he bought," originally "he took;" and colloquial English I'll take it for "I'll buy it."



mid-15c., from Middle French exempter, from exempt (adj.); see exempt (adj.). Related: Exempted; exempting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper