[ik-sel-see-er, ek-]

1770–80, Americanism; formerly a trademark

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[ek-sel-si-ohr; English ik-sel-see-awr, ek-]
adjective Latin.
ever upward: motto of New York State.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
excelsior (ɪkˈsɛlsɪˌɔː)
interj, —adv, —n
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
[C19: from Latin: higher]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

L. excelsior "higher," comp. of excelsus "high," pp. of excellere (see excel), taken 1778 as motto of New York State, where it was apparently 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, Amer.Eng.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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