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verb (used with object), ex·cret·ed, ex·cret·ing.
  1. to separate and eliminate from an organic body; separate and expel from the blood or tissues, as waste or harmful matter.

Origin of excrete

1610–20; < Latin excrētus (past participle of excernere to sift out, separate), equivalent to ex- ex-1 + crē- (perfect stem of cernere to sift) + -tus past participle suffix
Related formsex·cret·er, nounex·cre·tive, adjectiveun·ex·cret·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for excrete


  1. to discharge (waste matter, such as urine, sweat, carbon dioxide, or faeces) from the body through the kidneys, skin, lungs, bowels, etc
  2. (of plants) to eliminate (waste matter, such as carbon dioxide and salts) through the leaves, roots, etc
Derived Formsexcreter, nounexcretion, nounexcretive or excretory, adjective

Word Origin for excrete

C17: from Latin excernere to separate, discharge, from cernere to sift
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 excrete

1610s, from Latin excretus, past participle of excernere (see excrement). Related: Excreted; excreting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

excrete in Medicine


  1. To eliminate waste material from the body.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.