Meaning of EXCEPTIONAL in English

ex ‧ cep ‧ tion ‧ al /ɪkˈsepʃ ə nəl/ BrE AmE adjective

1 . unusually good SYN outstanding :

an exceptional student

exceptional bravery

2 . unusual and likely not to happen often:

This is an exceptional case; I’ve never seen anything like it before.

Promotion in the first year is only given in exceptional circumstances.

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COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)

■ exceptional + NOUN

▪ exceptional talent/ability/skill

He showed exceptional talent even as a youngster.

▪ exceptional quality

This is a wine of exceptional quality.

▪ exceptional bravery/courage

Fire crews showed exceptional bravery.

■ adverbs

▪ quite exceptional (=very exceptional)

The level of effort involved is really quite exceptional.

▪ truly exceptional (=really or extremely exceptional)

The film features a truly exceptional cast, including Oscar winner Denzel Washington.

▪ the most exceptional (=the best)

George Best was one of the most exceptional footballers of all time.

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COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ nouns

▪ an exceptional case

In the 1950s, some working class students went on to university, but these were exceptional cases.

▪ an exceptional event

If an exceptional event occurs, such as the death of a family member, you can ask for the court case to be postponed.

▪ the exceptional nature of something (=the very unusual qualities or features that something has)

In view of the exceptional nature of your crime, this court sentences you to a minimum of twenty years.

■ adverbs

▪ most exceptional (=very exceptional)

A child will only be removed from the parental home in the most exceptional of cases.

▪ highly exceptional (=extremely exceptional)

A loan of this size is highly exceptional.

■ phrases

▪ in exceptional circumstances (=when a situation is extremely unusual)

The U.S. will only issue a visitor visa at short notice in exceptional circumstances.

▪ give somebody exceptional leave to do something formal (=give someone special permission to do something)

Two of the asylum seekers were given exceptional leave to stay in Britain.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.