ex·​cel | \ ik-ˈsel How to pronounce excel (audio) \
excelled; excelling

Definition of excel

transitive verb

: to be superior to : surpass in accomplishment or achievement

intransitive verb

: to be distinguishable by superiority : surpass others excel in sports excelled at lipreading

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Choose the Right Synonym for excel

exceed, surpass, transcend, excel, outdo, outstrip mean to go or be beyond a stated or implied limit, measure, or degree. exceed implies going beyond a limit set by authority or established by custom or by prior achievement. exceed the speed limit surpass suggests superiority in quality, merit, or skill. the book surpassed our expectations transcend implies a rising or extending notably above or beyond ordinary limits. transcended the values of their culture excel implies preeminence in achievement or quality and may suggest superiority to all others. excels in mathematics outdo applies to a bettering or exceeding what has been done before. outdid herself this time outstrip suggests surpassing in a race or competition. outstripped other firms in sales

Examples of excel in a Sentence

She excels everyone else in sports. the special effects in this new sci-fi extravaganza excel any that we've seen previously
Recent Examples on the Web The first step was to take an honest look at their job requirements and re-prioritize around the skills that are truly needed to excel at any particular position. Michal Lev-ram, Fortune, "IBM’s Ginni Rometty: The way we hire must change—and we must do it now," 19 June 2020 But Wamp, 62, a staunch Tennessee conservative, said their suspicions are misplaced and that his years in grassroots organizing taught him that Republicans can excel with absentee voting. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, "Group to spend $1M on ad buy to convince GOP of mail-in voting benefits," 19 June 2020 Some people excel in a work-from-home environment, but not me. Yasmin Vossoughian, NBC News, "MSNBC's Yasmin Vossoughian: How to stem insecurity, stay relevant when you're isolated at home," 12 June 2020 The Obama victory helped fulfill one of the great ambitions of the civil rights struggle by showcasing the ability of extraordinarily talented black Americans to lead and excel in all facets of American life. Washington Post Staff, Washington Post, "Understanding racism and inequality in America," 8 June 2020 Lug soles excel on hillsides while rubber boots are good in wet woodcock lowlands. Tom Keer, Field & Stream, "16 Expert Upland Bird Hunting Tips," 2 June 2020 Best for: Your back-up bike Also called a ‘comfort’ or ‘fitness’ bike, hybrids try to be everything, but excel at nothing. Christine Frietchen, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Bikes for Every Type of Ride," 28 May 2020 The two grew up together in Houston and excelled at basketball. Mark Emmert, USA TODAY, "Mother of George Floyd's daughter makes first public comments: 'He’ll never see her grow up, graduate'," 2 June 2020 Minnow-imitating lures excel like the original floating-diving Rapala and Rebel designs. Popular Science, "A beginner’s guide to freshwater fishing," 1 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'excel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of excel

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for excel

Middle English excellen, from Latin excellere, from ex- + -cellere to rise, project; akin to Latin collis hill — more at hill

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Time Traveler for excel

Time Traveler

The first known use of excel was in the 15th century

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Statistics for excel

Last Updated

27 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Excel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/excel. Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for excel


How to pronounce excel (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of excel

: to be better than others
: to be or do better than (others)


ex·​cel | \ ik-ˈsel How to pronounce excel (audio) \
excelled; excelling

Kids Definition of excel

: to do better than others : surpass She excelled at running.

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More from Merriam-Webster on excel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for excel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with excel

Spanish Central: Translation of excel

Nglish: Translation of excel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of excel for Arabic Speakers

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