- to surpass others or be superior in some respect or area; do extremely well: to excel in math.
- to surpass; be superior to; outdo: He excels all other poets of his day.
Origin of excel
1400–50; late Middle English excellen < Latin excellere, equivalent to ex- ex-1 + -cellere to rise high, tower (akin to celsus high)
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
2. outstrip, eclipse, transcend, exceed, top, beat. Excel, outdo, surpass imply being better than others or being superior in achievement. To excel is to be superior in some quality, attainment, or performance: to excel opponents at playing chess. To outdo is to make more successful effort than others: to outdo competitors in the high jump. To surpass is to go beyond others, especially in a contest as to quality or ability: to surpass one's classmates in knowledge of corporation law.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for excel
Life seemed to have little meaning; a need to excel was almost gone.How His West Point Football Experience Inspired Eisenhower
November 11, 2014
Can it be exported to Excel, or a comma-separated file, for instance?Self-Tracking for N00bz
Jamie Todd Rubin
July 24, 2014
In her own way, Woodley is inspiring young women to succeed and excel.Lana Del Rey and the Fault in Our ‘Feminist’ Stars
June 11, 2014
One of her deputy chiefs of staff keeps track of the tracker, an Excel spreadsheet, she says.Obama’s Hidden Power Player
May 12, 2014
It made my journey a longer one, but I really wanted to excel in the theater.Meet the Red Viper: Pedro Pascal on Game of Thrones’ Kinky, Bisexual Hellraiser
March 26, 2014
But, in spite of these ordinary defects, he was fond of his work and wishful to excel in it.Within the Law
All his promotion had come from trying to excel in his routine work.Heroes of the Telegraph
That is, he could work wonders like the fairies and excel the doctors in curing diseases.Welsh Fairy Tales
William Elliott Griffis
They do not hope to excel the Greeks, but are content to remain their pupils.Introductory American History
Henry Eldridge Bourne
Thus is excited among those so brought together a spirit of competition, and a desire in their turn to excel.
- to be superior to (another or others); surpass
- (intr; foll by in or at) to be outstandingly good or proficienthe excels at tennis
C15: from Latin excellere to rise up
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for excel
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper