From the second edition (1989):
except, pple., prep., and conj.
(ɛkˈsɛpt) Also 5–6 excepte, 5 Sc. excep. [ad. L. except-us, pa. pple. of excipĕre: see except v.]


A. pple. = excepted, pa. pple. of except v.


1. As predicate (with the vb. to be) or as complementary obj.: Not included. Also occas., Exempted. Obs.

1482 Monk of Evesham (Arb.) 63 He thoughte hym selfe excepte in this worlde fro the comon labur of men. 1523 Ld. Berners Froiss. I. cxlvii. 177 To this truse all parties were agreed, but Bretayne was clerely excepte. 1526 Pilgr. Perf. (W. de W. 1531) 62 The greatest synner that is may attayne therto, and none be excepte. 1535 Coverdale 1 Kings xv. 22 Kynge Asa caused it be proclamed in all Iuda: Here be no man excepte.


2. ? Accepted. Obs. (See except v. 6.)
(The old edd. read expert, which may be correct.)

c1400 Rom. Rose 4291 She was except in his servise.


3. In concord with a n. in the nominative absolute; = ‘(being) excepted’. Obs. a. preceding the n. (See B. 1.) b. following the n.

1467 in Eng. Gilds (1870) 394 Yf eny citezen fforen wolle‥sue eny citezen denesyn for eny matere or cause done wt outforth‥ples of lond only except. 1494 Fabyan Chron. v. cx. 84 All other, as well of Brytons as of Saxons, faylyd, or lefte of, that allonly excepte. 1535 Coverdale Acts xxvi. 29, I wolde to God that‥I mighte persuade‥the‥to be soch as I am these bondes excepte. [Wyclif, out takun thes bondis; Vulg. exceptis vinculis his.] 1594 Shakes. Rich. III, v. iii. 243 (Richard except) those whom we fight against, Had rather haue vs win, then him they follow. 1646 E. F[isher] Mod. Divinity 7 Let all the fruits of Paradise be in thy power, one tree except. 1667 Milton P.L. ii 678 God and his Son except, Created thing naught vallu'd he nor shun'd.


B. prep.


1. In ME., in the construction A. 3, the pple., like its synonym out-taken, might precede the n. When this collocation of a pple. ceased to be idiomatic, except became a prep., with the sense: Excepting, with the exception of, save, but.
Owing to the rarity of instances in which an inflected pron. takes the place of a n., it is impossible to say definitely how soon the change in the grammatical character of the word took place, but it had prob. begun before 16th c. Cf. Fr. excepté and hormis, which are now treated as preps. Possibly the word was something taken as the imperative of except v.; cf. excipe in the Eton Latin Syntax.

1377 Langl. P. Pl. B. ix. 140 Alle shal deye‥Excepte one~liche of eche kynde a couple [A. x. 169 out-taken Eihte soules and of vche beest A couple]. c1470 Henry Wallace v. 1026 Thai entryt in, befor thaim fand no ma, Excep wemen. 14‥ Customs of Malton in Surtees Misc. (1890) 58 In ye feyldes and in ye more‥and in all othyr places, excepptt severall of ye lorde. 1560 Whitehorne Arte Warre (1573) 83b, No Capitayne will lye neere the enemie except hee that is disposed to fighte the fielde. 1591 Shakes. 1 Hen. VI, i. i. 91 France is reuolted from the English quite, Except some petty Townes. 1655 W. F. Meteors iii. 56 Old Wives are wont to say that no night in the year except one, passeth without Lightning. 1766 Goldsm. Vic. W. xix, The rabble of mankind‥know nothing of liberty except the name. 1860 Dickens Uncomm. Trav. iii, Everybody else in the room had fits, except the wardswoman. 1870 Morris Earthly Par. I. i. 291 There where we go shall all be new to thee Except the love that thou hast won from me.


2. Leaving out of account; hence, in addition to, besides, as well as. Obs. rare.

1578 Dalrymple tr. Leslie's Hist. Scot. 27 Excepte fleshe, fishe and eldinge‥this Ile hes a pasture‥that may feid sum wethiris. 1756 T. Amory J. Buncle (1770) I. 101 Except hours of sleep, we were rarely from each other.


3. Without. Obs. rare—1.

1588 J. Mellis Briefe Instr. Fvb, Neuer enter any parson in your booke‥except the consent of the same person.


C. conj.


1. Introducing a predicative clause expressing a fact that forms an exception to the statement made. Now only in full form except that (in which except looks like a prep. with sentence as obj.); in 16–17th c. that was sometimes omitted. Cf. Fr. excepté que.

1568 Grafton Chron. II. 260 Then there came‥men of estate out of the good Townes of Flaundyrs, except out of Gaunt there came none. 1593 Shakes. Rich. II, i. iv. 6 Rich. What store of parting tears were shed? Aum. Faith none for me: except the Northeast wind‥Awak'd the sleepie rhewme, and so by chance Did grace our hollow parting with a teare. 1601 —— All's Well iv. iii. 300 More of his souldiership I know not, except in that Country, he had the honour to be the Officer‥to instruct for the doubling of files. Mod. The cases are quite parallel, except that A. is a younger man than B.


2. Introducing a hypothetical clause expressing a supposed case in which an exception will or may exist; = ‘unless’, ‘if not’.a. in full form except that, except that if. Obs. rare.

1513 More in Harding's Chron. (1543), This is my minde‥excepte that any of you my Lordes anye thinge perceaue to the contrarye [The reading is doubtful; Rastell's text (More's Wks. 1557 I. 48) omits that]. 1523 Ld. Berners Froiss. I. ccxii. 257 He shall leaue them entierly to us, excepte that if ye Frenche kynges had theym by exchaunge for other landes.


b. as simple conj. The use of subjunct. or indic. follows the same rules as with if.

14‥ Customs of Malton in Surtees Misc. (1890) 59 Exceppvd thay haffe prisoners for to delyver. 1526 Pilgr. Perf. (W. de W. 1531) 1 Harde it is for any persone‥to perceyue the‥dryfte of this treatyse‥excepte they rede before‥the two fyrst bokes. 1531 Act. 23 Hen. VIII, i. §4 Every such person‥shall‥abide in perpetuall prison‥ Except onely such person‥ do fynde two sufficiente suerties. 1641 Winthrop New Eng. (1826) II. 43 He‥said he would not go off the bench except he were commanded. 1678 C. Hatton in Hatton Corr. (1878) 163, I desire not to meddle with ye mother, except yr Loppe will take ye boys. 1703 Moxon Mech. Exerc. 252 Except my memory fails me, these are all. 1754 Richardson Grandison (1781) IV. xix. 149 Nobody knows of the matter, except he has complained to my Brother. 1850 Tennyson In Mem. xciv, In vain shalt thou‥call The spirits‥Except‥thou too canst say, My spirit is at peace with all. 1872 G. W. Dasent Three to One I. 219 She never offered any one advice, except it were asked of her.


c. After except conj. the phrases it be, it were, etc., are often used instead of repeating the principal verb.

1591 Shakes. 1 Hen. VI, i. i. 43 Ne're throughout the yeere to Church thou go'st, Except it be to pray against thy foes. a1674 Milton (Webster 1864), Except it be because her method is so glib and easy. 1812 Southey Lett. (1856) II. 252 No drama‥will be [written] except it be by the same hand.


3. Followed by an adv., phrase, or clause expressing the particular manner, degree, time, place, means, purpose, attendant circumstance, etc., with regard to which the proposition is not applicable: Otherwise (or elsewhere, etc.) than.
This construction may be regarded as an instance of the use of the prep. (see B. 1) with advb phrase as obj., for which cf. expressions like ‘The cause was tried in London instead of as York.’ It may, however, have arisen from 2 by ellipsis: cf. similar use of unless.

1586 A. Day Eng. Secretary i. (1625) 53 The ordering whereof (except in Letters Excusatorie or Defensorie) is wholly exempted the course in those Letters prescribed. 1596 Shakes. Merch. V. ii. i. 12, I would not change this hue, Except to steale your thoughts my gentle Queene. 1654 Fuller Triana iii, He‥affirms her disease mortal, except one herb procured for her, etc. 1766 Goldsm. Vic. W. xxiv, Nor do I know how to prevent the course of justice, except by paying the money myself. 1816 J. Wilson City of Plague i. iii, A lone castaway‥Who hopes no resting~place except in heaven. 1857 Buckle Civiliz. I. xi. 632 Society can have no hold on any class except through the medium of their interests. 1868 C. Clarke Relig. & Duty 70 The Apostle counted himself weak except as strengthened by the Spirit of God. 1877 F. Hall Eng. Adj. in -able 161 Rely, Except metaphorically, has not a personal reference. Mod. The city was strongly fortified on all sides, except here.


b. except for: exception being made for, were it not for, but for.