late 14c., excepten, "to receive," from Old French excepter (12c.), from Latin exceptus, past participle of excipere "to take out, withdraw; make an exception, reserve," from ex "out" (see ex-) + capere "to take," from PIE root *kap- "to grasp." Meaning "to leave out" is from 1510s. Related: Excepted; excepting. Adjectival function led to use as a preposition, conjunction (late 14c.).