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Excelsior is Latin for "higher, loftier, more elevated." So how do you use this great word in a sentence?
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Origin of excelsior1
Words nearby excelsior
Definition for excelsior (2 of 2)
What else does excelsior mean?
Where does excelsior come from?
Excelsior is a Latin adjective that literally means “higher” or “more elevated.” It is connected to the Latin verb excellere, which is where the English excel comes from.
In 1778, the state of New York adopted a coat of arms that included the word excelsior, which it took to mean “ever upward.” Excelsior also appears on the New York state seal and state flag, both depicting the coat of arms. Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow helped further popularize excelsior as an aspirational cry for “Ever upward!” in an 1841 poem.
Stan Lee, a New Yorker who began working on comics in the 1960s, first used excelsior in the “Stan’s Soapbox” section of the 1968 Fantastic Four #71. Lee had used other phrases as a sign-off in earlier issues, but Lee said that his competitors began stealing his catchphrases. So, Lee decided on a phrase that was more obscure and difficult to spell so none of his rivals would copy it. The gambit worked, and Lee used Excelsior! as a personal catchphrase for the rest of his life, including as the title of a memoir.
How is excelsior used in real life?
Two things really seem to have cornered the lexical market on excelsior in the U.S.: New York State, where it appears on its official insignia, and Stan Lee. Lee used Excelsior! an untold number of times. His Twitter account alone includes over 100 uses of it.
I just saw the 2nd episode of "Time Jumper!" It's even better than the first! I really dig this new comicstrip style. Excelsior!
— Stan Lee (@TheRealStanLee) August 25, 2009
After Stan Lee died on November 12, 2018, excelsior trended worldwide as millions of fans tweeted his catchphrase in honor of him.
— Elvira (@TheRealElvira) November 12, 2018
At age 7, I drew this weird portrait of Stan Lee and asked my Mom to send it to him. Thankfully she didn't because 30+ years later, I got to give it to the great one in person. Thanks for all the fun Stan #Excelsior pic.twitter.com/IpfYBSjWyf
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) November 12, 2018
No one has had more of an impact on my career and everything we do at Marvel Studios than Stan Lee. Stan leaves an extraordinary legacy that will outlive us all. Our thoughts are with his daughter, his family, and his millions of fans. #ThankYouStan #Excelsior!
— Kevin Feige (@Kevfeige) November 12, 2018
Lee was so beloved in the comic industry that even DC Comics, rival of Marvel (who published Lee’s books), threw out an excelsior to honor his memory.
He changed the way we look at heroes, and modern comics will always bear his indelible mark. His infectious enthusiasm reminded us why we all fell in love with these stories in the first place. Excelsior, Stan.
— DC (@DCComics) November 12, 2018
Like New York State and Stan Lee, people may use excelsior as a way to express ambition and aspiration, always striving for greatness.
More examples of excelsior:
“With great power comes great responsibility. Excelsior!”
—@TheRealStanLee, May 2018
This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.
How to use excelsior in a sentence
In Minneapolis, Minnesota, and outside of it, on 40 acres of half-hearted farmland outside of Excelsior, Minnesota.
One of the best of all parodies is one in imitation of Longfellow's "Excelsior," entitled "Tobacco."
We had to turn aside on our way downstairs for more furniture to make Buster a bed in a box full of excelsior in the shed.The Idyl of Twin Fires|Walter Prichard Eaton
Although it did not cry "Excelsior," its output of vocables might have been mistaken, by a casual ear, for that clarion call.Average Jones|Samuel Hopkins Adams
Briefly, it was a boom for the author and the "Daily Excelsior."
The dispatch had been redirected from the office of the "Daily Excelsior."