What is meant by confirm

exceptions prove the rule

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Exceptions confirm the rule (German) [edit]

Idiom [edit]

Word separation:

Exceptions prove the rule


IPA: [ˈaʊ̯sˌnaːmən bəˈʃtɛːtɪɡn̩ diː ˈʁeːɡl̩], [ˈaʊ̯sˌnaːmən bəˈʃtɛːtɪɡŋ̩ diː ˈʁeːɡl̩]
Audio samples: exceptions prove the rule (Info)


[1] The mention of an explicit exception suggests the existence of a rule in the cases not affected by the exception.


Derived from the Latin exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis ("The exception confirms the rule in the non-excepted cases."). Used in Cicero's defense by Lucius Cornelius Balbus Maiors, in which Cicero argued that if an exception made an act illegal, this act should be assessed as legal in the cases that are not affected by the exception. [1]


[1] From the mention of a "open to shops Sundays “it can be concluded that usually on Sundays no Sale takes place.

Translations [edit]

References and further information:

[1] Digital dictionary of the German language "exception"
[1] Duden editorial team (editor): Duden, idioms. Dictionary of German Idioms. In: The Duden in twelve volumes. 3rd, revised and updated edition. Volume 11, Dudenverlag, Mannheim / Leipzig / Vienna / Zurich 2008, ISBN 978-3-411-04113-8, page 82f
[1] Scientific advice of the Duden editorial team (editor): Duden German universal dictionary. 6th edition. Dudenverlag, Mannheim / Leipzig / Vienna / Zurich 2007, ISBN 978-3-411-05506-7, page 222
[1] The Free Dictionary "exception"


  1. Cicero's speech, M. Tullius Cicero. The Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, literally translated by C. D. Yonge, B. A. London. George Bell & Sons, York Street, Covent Garden. 1891. Chapter 14.