the exception proves the rule

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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