[ ik-sel-see-er, ek- ]
/ ɪkˈsɛl si ər, ɛk- /


fine wood shavings, used for stuffing, packing, etc.
Printing. a 3-point type: a size smaller than brilliant.

Nearby words

  1. exceedingly,
  2. excel,
  3. excellence,
  4. excellency,
  5. excellent,
  6. excelsior springs,
  7. excementosis,
  8. except,
  9. except for,
  10. excepted

Origin of excelsior

An Americanism dating back to 1770–80; formerly a trademark


[ ek-sel-si-ohr; English ik-sel-see-awr, ek- ]
/ ɛkˈsɛl sɪˌoʊr; English ɪkˈsɛl siˌɔr, ɛk- /

adjective Latin.

ever upward: motto of New York State.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for excelsior

British Dictionary definitions for excelsior


/ (ɪkˈsɛlsɪˌɔː) /

interjection, adverb, noun

excellent: used as a motto and as a trademark for various products, esp in the US for fine wood shavings used for packing breakable objects

Word Origin for excelsior

C19: from Latin: higher

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 excelsior


Latin excelsior "higher," comp. of excelsus (adj.) "high, elevated, lofty," past participle of excellere (see excel), taken 1778 as motto of New York State, where it apparently was mistaken for an adverb. Popularized 1841 as title of a poem by Longfellow. As a trade name for "thin shavings of soft wood used for stuffing cushions, etc.," first recorded 1868, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper