What does Exempt mean?



In the simplest terms exempt means that an organization or person does not have to do something. It can be used in three ways; as a verb, adjective, and as a noun. 

As verb it refers to someone or something that is free from obligation or liability that would be put on them by someone else. In other words someone else sets a rule and the person or thing that is exempt  doesn’t have to do it.

When used in this way exempt is often followed by the words from.

  • When a student has a doctor’s note, he may be exempt from P.E. (physical education) class.
  • Because the organization is a non-profit it is exempt from having to pay form fees.
  • Get over there, you are not exempt from this.

Synonyms for Exempt

There are several synonyms for this usage of the word exempt. The majority of synonyms for exempt are phrases. Here are a few of them.

Not liable to-  has a few definitions, but as a synonym for exempt, it means that a person, group, or organization is not legally responsible for doing something. This often refers to money.

  • They are not liable to pay the registration fee.

Not subject to- means that something is not conditional based on something happening. For example, when something is subject to one may have to wait for approval from a manager. In this case it would be subject to managerial approval. If something is not subject to, then a manager does not need to approve it.

  • Our approval is not subject to securing funding first.

Excused from- means that you are exempt from or don’t have to do something.

  • She was excused from swim practice because she was sick.

Absolved of/from- means that someone or something is free from responsibility or guilt. Simply put when someone is absolved of something it’s not their fault or their problem.

  • The company was absolved from the process that normal companies have to go through.

As an adjective exempt refers to something being free from the liability or rules  that are put on others. It also means that one is released from an obligation.

  • The judge ruled the she was exempt from having to pay her business partner any more money.
  • Because of their financial status, these patients are exempt from having to make any payments for 90 days.
  • Even though we are exempt from the regulation, we still have to file the form with the county.

As a noun exempt means that a person does not have to perform an obligation or a duty. This definition is often used when speaking about taxes.

  • Most non -profit organizations are exempt from paying taxes.
  • Because he was studying in a different state he was exempt from jury duty
  • We have filled out a waiver so our child can be exempt from getting these shots.

Synonyms for Exempt

There are many synonyms for exempt, here are some of the most commonly used.

Immune- has more than one meaning, as an antonym to exempt it refers to a person, a group, or an organization being  protected from an obligation or the effects of something. When someone or something is immune, it simply means they don’t have to follow that particular rule, or it doesn’t apply to them.

  • Because our building is grandfathered in, we are immune to any new requirements.

Excused- means that someone or something is released from duty or from a requirement. Excused is often used to refer to a person not having to do something, but it can also refer to an organization or a group.

When someone is excused it usually means almost everyone else has to follow the rule, but for whatever reason this person does not. The reason for the excuse does not matter.

  • Our team was excused from training because our flight got in so late the night before.

Subject to- means that something is conditional on something else happening. This means that one thing has to happen before one can get what they want. Something can be subject to anything; a manager’s approval, a background check, a fee being paid for example.

  • Getting the job was subject to being voted in by a majority of the board of directors.
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