The Origin of the Phrase “Take Exception To”: Explained

Have you ever wondered about the origin of the phrase “take exception to”? It’s a common expression that we often use without really thinking about its meaning. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating history and origins of this phrase, uncovering its true meaning and how it has evolved over time.

The phrase “take exception to” dates back to the early 18th century and originally had a more literal meaning. It referred to someone formally objecting or challenging something. However, over the years, the phrase has taken on a broader meaning and is now commonly used to express disagreement or dissatisfaction with someone or something. Join us as we unravel the origins and usage of this intriguing phrase and gain insight into its cultural significance.

What Does “Take Exception To” Mean?

The phrase “take exception to” is an idiomatic expression that means to strongly disagree with or be offended by something. When someone takes exception to a statement, action, or opinion, they feel that it is unfair, incorrect, or inappropriate, and they express their disagreement or offense.

In essence, taking exception to something implies a strong objection or disapproval. It indicates that the person disagrees with the statement or action to such an extent that they feel compelled to voice their opposition or express their offense.

It is important to note that taking exception to something does not necessarily imply that the person is angry or confrontational. It can simply mean that they have a different perspective or believe that the statement or action is unjust or unacceptable.

In the next section, we will delve into the historical origins of the phrase “take exception to” to better understand its evolution and usage over time.

Historical Origins of the Phrase “Take Exception To”

The phrase “take exception to” has a long history and can be traced back to the Middle Ages. Its origins can be found in legal contexts, where it was used to express dissatisfaction or disagreement with a particular statement or action. In the early legal systems, individuals had the right to “take exception” to any evidence or argument presented against them in a court of law.

Over time, the phrase “take exception to” became more widely used in everyday language to indicate disapproval or objection to something. It evolved into a common expression to convey one’s disagreement or offense at a specific remark, behavior, or situation.

The exact genesis of the phrase is uncertain, but it likely emerged from the French legal term “prendre exception,” which had a similar meaning. The influence of French legal terminology on the English legal system during the medieval period likely contributed to the adoption of “take exception to” in English.

Today, the phrase “take exception to” is still commonly used to express disagreement, offense, or objection to something. It has become part of the everyday language and is used in various contexts, from casual conversations to formal debates.

In the next section, we will explore the usage of the phrase “take exception to” in contemporary language and provide examples of its application in different situations.

Usage of the Phrase “Take Exception To”

The phrase “take exception to” is an idiomatic expression commonly used in English to indicate that someone has a strong objection or disagreement with something. It is often used in formal or polite contexts to convey a sense of disagreement while maintaining a respectful tone. Here are some examples of how the phrase can be used in sentences:

  • I take exception to your statement: This implies that the speaker strongly disagrees with what was said and wants to express their disagreement.
  • She took exception to his behavior: This suggests that she had a strong objection to his actions and was not pleased with them.
  • He took exception to the criticism: This indicates that he strongly objected to the criticism and did not agree with it.
  • They took exception to the proposal: This shows that they had a strong disagreement with the proposal and did not support it.

The phrase “take exception to” is versatile and can be used in various contexts to express disagreement or objection. It is important to use it appropriately and respectfully when expressing your disagreement with others.

Cultural Significance of “Take Exception To”

The phrase “take exception to” holds significant cultural significance as it reflects a common expression of disagreement or objection. It is often used when someone strongly disagrees with a statement, action, or belief and wants to express their dissent. This phrase is widely recognized and understood in English-speaking cultures, serving as a way to assert one’s disagreement or assertiveness.

Moreover, the concept of taking exception to something is deeply rooted in the values of freedom of thought, expression, and individuality. It embodies the idea that individuals have the right to voice their disagreement or challenge prevailing norms and ideas. In this sense, “take exception to” is not only a linguistic expression but also a reflection of cultural values and attitudes towards dissent and intellectual debate.

Furthermore, the phrase can also carry implications of assertiveness, confidence, and standing up for one’s beliefs. It portrays a sense of autonomy and refusal to conform or accept something without critical examination. By taking exception to something, individuals assert their intellectual and moral autonomy, challenging conventional wisdom and pushing for progress, change, and the pursuit of truth.

In conclusion, the phrase “take exception to” holds cultural significance as an expression of disagreement, individuality, and the pursuit of truth. It reflects cultural values of freedom of thought and expression, and it acts as a means for individuals to assert their dissent and challenge prevailing norms and ideas.


The phrase “take exception to” has a long history and is commonly used to express disagreement or disapproval. It originated from legal language and has since become a widely recognized expression. Understanding the historical origins and cultural significance of this phrase can help us better communicate and navigate disagreements in our daily lives.

Next time you come across someone “taking exception to” something, remember that it’s a natural part of communication and can lead to a deeper understanding of different perspectives. Embrace the opportunity for dialogue and growth, and use the phrase “take exception to” responsibly and respectfully.

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