exception that proves the rule
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- The rare occurrence of a counterexample to a rule, used to demonstrate that the rule exists.
- 1688, [anonymous], An Answer to a Paper Importing a Petition of the Archbishop of Canterbury and Six other Bishops to His Majesty, London: Henry Hills, page 14:
- A bishop ... is not bound to obey any Mandate but the King's; which Exception proves the Rule, and that he is inexcusably oblig'd to obey the King's
- 1775, A Gentleman of Lincoln's Inn, A Digest of Adjudged Cases in the Court of King's Bench, London: G. Kearsly and G. Robinson, page 85:
- Some statutes give justices of the peace a power of proceeding on default, but the exception proves the rule in the thing not excepted; it seems therefore that the defendant should have been apprehended by a warrant
occurrence of counterexample
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
Translations to be checked
- Gary Martin (1997–) , “The exception that proves the rule”, in The Phrase Finder, retrieved 26 February 2017.
- Michael Quinion (14 September 2002) , “Exception that proves the rule”, in World Wide Words.
- The Straight Dope