• synonyms


[ik-sel-see-er, ek-]
  1. fine wood shavings, used for stuffing, packing, etc.
  2. Printing. a 3-point type: a size smaller than brilliant.
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Origin of excelsior1

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


[ek-sel-si-ohr; English ik-sel-see-awr, ek-]
adjective Latin.
  1. ever upward: motto of New York State.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for excelsior


interjection, adverb, noun
  1. 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
  2. upwards
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Word Origin

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper