the exception proves the rule

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

The exception proves the rule.

Prov. Something that does not follow a rule shows that the rule exists. (Often used facetiously, to justify some rule you have proposed but which someone else has listed exceptions. From a Latin phrase meaning that an exception tests a rule.) Ellen: Men are always rude. Jane: But Alan's always polite. And Larry and Ted are polite, too. Ellen: They're just the exceptions that prove the rule. Bill: All the shows on TV are aimed at people with low intelligence. Alan: What about that news program you like to watch? Bill: The exception proves 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

exception proves the rule, the

Although something may not conform to it, the general rule is still valid. This term originated in the 1500s and is considered a proverb. Playwright Thomas Heywood used it in The Rape of Lucrece (1608), “If the general rule have no exceptions, thou wilt have an empty consistory.” However, in the 1800s several scholars maintained that “proves” in this phrase actually means “tests” (and not “verifies”). Whichever is intended, the phrase is still used, as in “Jane was the only woman who opposed this measure; well, the exception proves the rule.”
See also: exception, prove
References in periodicals archive ?
But the fact such groups are becoming more remarked upon and more newsworthy shows how the exception proves the rule. Candace Owens, a young African American woman, fetishes her status as a Trump supporter when launching broadsides at the other team.
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.
We all know of such cases, but as is usually true, the exception proves the rule. And those who think fit the appointment of senior military men to ambassadorships might dwell on the verdict reportedly delivered by General Anthony Zinni when his rumored appointment to Iraq was withdrawn: "They can stick it where the sun don't shine." Not all admirals and generals are so crude, but they and academics and campaign contributors share one thing in common: They are not trained diplomats, who in turn would be poor choices to command an army battalion or an aircraft carrier.
The exception proves the rule: For all practical purposes, Oregon judges are appointed rather than elected.
One could, of course, pick up holes in the chap's thesis, but being a wiseguy, he'd no doubt lay on the cliches fast and thick: "the exception proves the rule"; no philosophy can "survive without at first being torn to shreds" by nitpickers; the "proof of the pudding is in the eating" so, if you don't believe it, you can buy a ticket to Johannesburg right now, flying first to Kano.
Although the bromide "the exception proves the rule" might be a comforting response, bromides do not serve well in antitrust cases.
And yet, the exception proves the rule. Ted Hughes's Birthday Letters (Faber - pounds 14.99) has been allocated numerous inches of newsprint since it first appeared like a meteor shower on the horizon after his 35 years of silence regarding his marriage to Sylvia Plath.
Other "experts" on grammar would use the idiomatic defense to "excuse" the use of out at the end of that particular sentence, hastening to assure you that it is a rare, allowable exception to "the rule." The wackier idiomatic-defense "experts" might contend that the sentence should be classified under that goofy dictum: "the exception proves the rule." For years I have tried to think of a widely-believed dictum that is more preposterous on its surface than "the exception proves the rule." I have been unable to think of one.
The exception proves the rule. Surely every sensible person must have wondered: How the heck can the exception prove the rule?
In this case, however, the exception proves the rule of a dominant ideology, since Hazlitt, in his public disagreement with Gifford over Coriolanus, is forced into a beleagured and defensive position against the unrelenting tirade of conservative abuse he faced.
"Its application is too simplistic." His theory of government regulations is that the exception proves the rule. "If there are too many exceptions, then it's time to revise the rule."