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[ik-sel] /ɪkˈsɛl/
verb (used without object), excelled, excelling.
to surpass others or be superior in some respect or area; do extremely well:
to excel in math.
verb (used with object), excelled, excelling.
to surpass; be superior to; outdo:
He excels all other poets of his day.
Origin of excel
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English excellen < Latin excellere, equivalent to ex- ex-1 + -cellere to rise high, tower (akin to celsus high)
Related forms
unexcelled, adjective
unexcelling, adjective
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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for excelled
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • His powers were more confined to materialization than Eglinton's, but in that he excelled.

    There is no Death Florence Marryatt
  • Mr. Dawson excelled in his own characteristic way any man I ever heard.

    The Story of My Life Egerton Ryerson
  • With regard to the stage, they have excelled even the Greeks, who far excelled the English.

    Essays David Hume
  • In every relation in life in which she has been placed, Mrs. Pond has excelled.

    Among the Sioux R. J. Creswell
  • The shores were clothed with the wonderful green of Spring, which, to my mind, was excelled only by the matchless verdure of Java.

    Travels in the Far East Ellen Mary Hayes Peck
British Dictionary definitions for excelled


verb -cels, -celling, -celled
to be superior to (another or others); surpass
(intransitive; foll by in or at) to be outstandingly good or proficient: he excels at tennis
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
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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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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