exception proves the rule, the

the exception proves the rule

That which contradicts or goes against a supposed rule therefore proves that it is almost always true. A: "Video games are all just mindless filth that rots kids' brains." B: "I don't know, a lot of them let kids express themselves creatively or learn about the world in new ways." A: "Bah, the exceptions just prove the rule."
See also: exception, prove, rule

exception proves the rule, the

An instance that does not obey a rule shows that the rule exists. For example, John's much shorter than average but excels at basketball-the exception proves the rule . This seemingly paradoxical phrase is the converse of the older idea that every rule has an exception. [Mid-1600s]
See also: exception, prove
References in periodicals archive ?
In an observation that demonstrates how the exception proves the rule, the French folk song sounds the least like Ravel; "his unique musical language is subverted through another kind of artifice, one that favors redefining a self in the context of these songs" (p.