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See more synonyms for excel on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object), ex·celled, ex·cel·ling.
  1. to surpass others or be superior in some respect or area; do extremely well: to excel in math.
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verb (used with object), ex·celled, ex·cel·ling.
  1. to surpass; be superior to; outdo: He excels all other poets of his day.
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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)
Related formsun·ex·celled, adjectiveun·ex·cel·ling, adjective


See more synonyms for 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

Related Words


Examples from the Web for excelled

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • There he plied his tasks so diligently that he excelled all in book-learning.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • He knew how to praise—a difficult art, but he excelled in it.

  • Taine excelled in praise of her intellectual vigour and productivity.

    Mountain Meditations

    L. Lind-af-Hageby

  • He was a weakling, and had no love of boyish sports; but he excelled in scholarship.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • The masterly handling of color in this picture has rarely been excelled.

    Aztec Land

    Maturin M. Ballou

British Dictionary definitions for excelled


verb -cels, -celling or -celled
  1. to be superior to (another or others); surpass
  2. (intr; foll by in or at) to be outstandingly good or proficienthe excels at tennis
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Word Origin

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 excelled



c.1400, from Latin excellere "to rise, surpass, be eminent," from ex- "out from" (see ex-) + -cellere "rise high, tower," related to celsus "high, lofty, great," from PIE root *kel- "to rise, be elevated" (see hill). Related: Excelled; excelling.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper