ex·​cerpt | \ˈek-ˌsərpt, ˈeg-ˌzərpt \

Definition of excerpt 

(Entry 1 of 2)

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


ex·​cerpt | \excerp98, eg-ˈzərpt, ˈek-ˌsərpt, ˈeg-ˌzərpt \
excerpted; excerpting; excerpts

Definition of excerpt (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to select (a passage) for quoting : extract

2 : to take or publish extracts from (something, such as a book)

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Other Words from excerpt


excerptor or excerpter noun
excerption \ek-​ˈsərp-​shən, eg-​ˈzərp-​ \ noun

Synonyms for excerpt

Synonyms: Noun

extract, passage

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Examples of excerpt in a Sentence


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.


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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Former First Lady Michelle Obama shared her White House fashion strategy this week in a brand new excerpt from her book Becoming. Amira Rasool, Teen Vogue, "Michelle Obama Opened Up About the “Double Standard” of Needing a Glam Squad in the White House," 12 Nov. 2018 But on Thursday night's episode of Watch What Happens Live, the actor expressed some dismay at the level of coverage a certain excerpt is receiving. Dan Barna, Glamour, "Busy Philipps Is 'Bummed' at How the Media Is Covering Her Story About James Franco," 19 Oct. 2018 Here, an excerpt from their conversation, which covered the important stuff: feminism, food, and, of course, fragrance. Jennifer Goldstein, Marie Claire, "Lupita Nyong'o & Saoirse Ronan Teamed Up to Create Your New Go-To Perfume," 22 Aug. 2018 Sign up to have this month’s book reviews, excerpts, and author interviews delivered directly to your inbox. Dana Snitzky, Longreads, "This Month in Books: ‘What Used To Be Me Before the World Buried It’," 10 July 2018 An excerpt from Blackledge's story: After his release and recovery, Pead went to work managing StamPead Trucking, a vehicle-moving service. Dave Clark, Cincinnati.com, "Isaiah Pead trains, awaits doctors' clearance to pursue Paralympics dream," 1 May 2018 In the excerpt posted on website, the author lists pioneers in early digital asset research such as Adam Back, Wei Dai, David Chaum and Hal Finney. Fortune, "Unknown Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto Might Be Writing a Book," 30 June 2018 The early excerpts have also caused a public rift between Trump and his former chief strategist Steve Bannon, over Bannon's comments in the book about Trump and his family. Houston Chronicle, "Whiskeytown book documents volatile early years for Ryan Adams," 28 June 2018 The excerpts of his testimony were included in a request to a federal judge to force Baylor to produce documents that the school has withheld, citing student privacy. Washington Post, "Ex-Baylor athletic director: Black athletes made scapegoats," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Joanna revealed the touching story of her engagement to husband Chip in their book The Magnolia Story, which was excerpted on Cosmopolitan.com. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "This is Why Joanna Gaines Will Never Upgrade Her Engagement Ring," 18 June 2018 Article 11 aims to change that by giving news publishers more control over how technology platforms excerpt and link to their articles. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "An EU copyright bill could force YouTube-style filtering across the Web," 11 Sep. 2018 That’s what Tom Bower says in his new unauthorized biography of the Prince of Wales, Rebel Prince: The Power, Passion and Defiance of Prince Charles — pages of which were excerpted in The Daily Mail on Saturday. Dave Quinn, PEOPLE.com, "Prince Charles Felt Threatened by Prince William and Kate Middleton's Popularity: New Book," 17 Mar. 2018 The following story is excerpted from TIME’s special edition, 100 Most Healing Foods, which is available in stores, at the Meredith Shop and at Amazon. Alexandra Sifferlin, Time, "11 Best Foods For Your Immune System," 19 June 2018 This essay is excerpted from Custodians of the Internet by Tarleton Gillespie, published by Yale University Press and used by permission. Tarleton Gillespie, WIRED, "How Social Networks Set the Limits of What We Can Say Online," 26 June 2018 The following is excerpted from Davey Johnson: My Wild Ride in Baseball and Beyond by Davey Johnson with Erik Sherman is printed with the permission of Triumph Books. Davey Johnson, SI.com, "What It Was Like to Manage a Rookie Doc Gooden, the Gritty Wally Backman and the New York Mets," 1 June 2018 By Leslie Carroll Leslie Carroll provides heavily researched insight into the newest member of the royal family in American Princess (William Morrow), excerpted here. Keziah Weir, Vanities, "All the Books to Read for Your Post-Wedding Royals Fix," 24 May 2018 In a wide-ranging story for Vulture that is excerpted from a forthcoming monograph, author Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah profiles figurative painter Henry Taylor, who had five new paintings exhibited at last year’s Whitney Biennial. Danielle Jackson, Longreads, "‘Wild With Love’: Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah on the Portraits of Henry Taylor," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'excerpt.' 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 excerpt


1627, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for excerpt


see excerpt entry 2


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

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Statistics for excerpt

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for excerpt

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

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More Definitions for excerpt



English Language Learners Definition of excerpt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to include (part of a longer written work) in something else



English Language Learners Definition of excerpt (Entry 2 of 2)

: a small part of a longer written work

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More from Merriam-Webster on excerpt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for excerpt

Spanish Central: Translation of excerpt

Nglish: Translation of excerpt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of excerpt for Arabic Speakers

Comments on excerpt

What made you want to look up excerpt? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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