Meaning of “except” in the English Dictionary

"except" in British English

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exceptpreposition, conjunction

uk /ɪkˈsept/ us /ɪkˈsept/

A2 not including; but not:

The museum is open daily except Monday(s).
The government has few options except to keep interest rates high.
It's cool and quiet everywhere except in the kitchen.
Everyone was there except for Sally.
There is nothing to indicate the building's past, except (for) the fireplace.

More examples

  • She won't eat anything except chicken nuggets and chips.
  • The proposed change in the law would make abortion illegal except for strictly defined medical reasons.
  • She rarely ventured outside, except when she went to stock up on groceries at the corner shop.
  • The soldiers slept at night, except for one who stayed awake to keep watch.


(Definition of “except” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"except" in American English

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exceptpreposition, conjunction

us /ɪkˈsept/

not including; but not:

It’s cool and quiet everywhere except (for) the kitchen.
Everyone is here except Peter.

Except also means with this difference or in this case only:

The twins look exactly alike except (that) one is slightly taller.
The deserted town is silent, except when wind rustles the weeds or bangs a door.

exceptverb [ T ]

us /ɪkˈsept/

to not include something or someone:

When I say I didn’t like the Midwest, I except Chicago.
preposition, conjunction us /ɪkˈsep·tɪŋ/

Excepting the two people who left early, I think everyone enjoyed the tour.

(Definition of “except” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"except" in Business English

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uk /ɪkˈsept/ us also except for

used to mean 'not including' or 'but not':

Our offices are open Monday through Friday except on national holidays.
All money transfers, except for those between members of the same branch, will now be charged a transaction fee.

exceptverb [ T ]

uk /ɪkˈsept/ us

to not include someone or something:

be excepted from sth Materials used in farming are excepted from sales and use tax.
excepting sth Virtually all new restaurants in the region are smoke free, excepting those connected to a bar.

(Definition of “except” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)