1 of 2


: a passage (as from a book or musical composition) selected, performed, or copied : extract
excerpted; excerpting; excerpts

transitive verb

: to select (a passage) for quoting : extract
: to take or publish extracts from (something, such as a book)
excerptor noun
or excerpter
ek-ˈsərp-shən How to pronounce excerpt (audio)

Examples of excerpt in a Sentence

Noun Among the excerpts and Twitter feeds and author interviews … there was the actor Will Smith praising The Alchemist as one of his favorite books. Gregory Cowles, New York Times Book Review, 18 Oct. 2009
When his [Thomas Jefferson's] wife Martha died in 1782, he wrapped a lock of her hair with a scrap of paper containing an excerpt from the couple's favorite novel, Laurence Sterne's comic masterpiece, Tristram Shandy, and stashed the token in his desk. Walter Kim, Time, 5 July 2004
The exemplary figure here is Norman Mailer, whose 1959 Advertisements for Myself is the height of writerly chutzpah. The book, comprising excerpts from his journalism and fiction, descriptions of the agonies he went through to produce them and obsessive reviews of his reviewers, is so shameless it's admirable. Judith Shulevitz, New York Times Book Review, 17 June 2001
… I also keep a pad by the side of my bed for writing down great thoughts at night without having to turn on the light. In the morning, these great thoughts sound like excerpts from the Dead Sea Scrolls. Bill Cosby, Time Flies, (1987) 1988
She read an excerpt from the play. I've read only excerpts of Moby-Dick, never the whole book. Verb The fiction that the magazine does publish is too often excerpted from novels or imminently forthcoming collections, making the magazine seem more a flack for publishers than a site of editorial strength and vision. Vince Passaro, Harper's, August 1999
How quickly does the Net move? Last Friday journalist Michael Colton posted an elaborate Web parody of the forthcoming magazine Talk, which is owned by Miramax and helmed by former New Yorker editor Tina Brown. Within hours, the site's URL had ricocheted about in countless e-mails, and the Drudge Report had excerpted the text. Newsweek, 26 July 1999
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Recent Examples on the Web
In an excerpt from the book published in The Washington Post on Friday, Isaacson recounts how Musk single-handedly foiled a Ukrainian sneak attack on a Russian naval fleet in Crimea by cutting off the Starlink satellite internet service Ukraine’s drones were relying on. Will Oremus, Washington Post, 10 Sep. 2023 In an excerpt viewed by CNN, Musk’s biographer Walter Isaacson writes that Ukrainian drones packed with explosives were headed toward a Russian naval fleet before the tech titan made the order. Byeleanor Pringle, Fortune, 8 Sep. 2023 The armed submarine drones were poised to attack the Russian fleet, according to a CNN report that cited an excerpt of a forthcoming biography of Musk by Walter Isaacson, the former chief executive of CNN. Christian Davenport and Joseph Menn, Anchorage Daily News, 7 Sep. 2023 In that excerpt, Xia examines the duality of one version of the California dream: a life on the beach with a house right in front of the ocean, with the demands of climate change, which continue to rise. Kelcie Pegher, Los Angeles Times, 7 Sep. 2023 From the outset indicating the centrality of composer Eiko Ishibashi’s score, we are drawn into the film with a long musical excerpt, only accompanied by fluid tracking shot, looking upward: a tracery of tree branches, feathered out against a winter sky. Jessica Kiang, Variety, 4 Sep. 2023 In an exclusive excerpt from his new biography ‘Elon Musk,’ Walter Isaacson offers a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most surprising and controversial decisions of the mogul’s career. Walter Isaacson, WSJ, 31 Aug. 2023 Published on Thursday, the excerpt largely explores Musk’s whirlwind takeover of X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, but also sheds light on his relationship with his eldest daughter. Brian Brant, Peoplemag, 31 Aug. 2023 In an excerpt from author Kyle Buchanan's book Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road, producer P. J. Voeten shared details about how Miller chose Hemsworth. Jillian Pretzel, Peoplemag, 29 Aug. 2023
In 'Glossy: Ambition, Beauty, and the Inside Story of Emily Weiss’s Glossier,' excerpted here exclusively, Marisa Meltzer tracks how an intern on 'The Hills' created a juggernaut makeup brand Once upon a time, Glossier was a unicorn. Jason Sheeler, Peoplemag, 8 Sep. 2023 This also is excerpted in the federal Jan. 6 indictment. Nick Penzenstadler, USA TODAY, 17 Aug. 2023 Recipe excerpted from Southern Smoke: Barbecue, Traditions, and Treasured Recipes Reimagined for Today by Matthew Register. Lisa Cericola, Southern Living, 29 July 2023 The show originates with David Byrne, who conceived an album built around Imelda’s story with lyrics largely excerpted from her and other political figures’ interviews and speeches, laid juicy get-on-your-feet hooks devised in collaboration with Fatboy Slim. Vulture, 20 July 2023 This poem was compiled from the redacted pages 50 to 64 and excerpted from the poet Nicole Sealey’s forthcoming collection, The Ferguson Report: An Erasure. Nicole Sealey, The Atlantic, 19 July 2023 On Monday evening, Jayapal excerpted and promoted a piece by New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg accusing the progressive congresswoman’s critics of ... Noah Rothman, National Review, 18 July 2023 In the new biography Jackie: Public, Private, Secret — exclusively excerpted in this week's issue of PEOPLE — author J. Randy Taraborrelli details how the former first lady had a brief fling with the actor in the mid-1970s. People Staff, Peoplemag, 21 June 2023 Kirstjen Nielsen during Trump's presidency, made the allegations in his upcoming book, Blowback: A Warning to Save Democracy from the Next Trump, a portion of which was excerpted by Newsweek. Virginia Chamlee, Peoplemag, 28 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'excerpt.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Verb and Noun

Latin excerptus, past participle of excerpere, from ex- + carpere to gather, pluck — more at harvest

First Known Use


1627, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of excerpt was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near excerpt

Cite this Entry

“Excerpt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/excerpt. Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
ex·​cerpt ek-ˈsərpt How to pronounce excerpt (audio) eg-ˈzərpt How to pronounce excerpt (audio)
: to select for quoting
: to take excerpts from


2 of 2 noun
: a part taken from a longer work
read an excerpt from the play

More from Merriam-Webster on excerpt

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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