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

When excerpts from the discussion leaked to the New York Times earlier this week, a sense of trepidation, particularly among the critics community, seemed to follow. Lacey Rose, The Hollywood Reporter, "Emmys: HBO's Most Nominated Streak Ends Amid AT&T's Volume Push," 12 July 2018 Find the full story here and enjoy the excerpt below. Tom Verducci, SI.com, "Nine Innings: How Bryce Harper Is Trying to Revive His Season, What We Learned in the First Half and More," 9 July 2018 Facebook’s algorithm was in the spotlight again this week after the social network tagged an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence as hate speech. James Rogers, Fox News, "Facebook, Wes Cook Band, work to resolve patriotic song 'censorship' row," 6 July 2018 The Alliance for Justice, a liberal judicial advocacy group, earlier this year highlighted excerpts from the college writings, calling Bounds unfit for a lifetime judge's position. Maxine Bernstein, OregonLive.com, "Senate Judiciary votes 11 to 10 to forward Ryan Bounds' 9th Circuit nomination to Senate floor," 7 June 2018 Saunders also uses excerpts from historical texts to tell the story of Willie’s death and its aftermath. Lucy Feldman, Time, "Bill Gates Shares the 5 Books You Should Read This Summer," 21 May 2018 Their dad sends thought-provoking quotes and wisdom-excerpts. Nina Mandell, For The Win, "Meet the mom behind the most successful family in women's hoops," 13 May 2018 The excerpts from Walker's speech reflect the uncertain political climate facing Republicans, who have lost a recent series of races here and elsewhere against resurgent Democrats. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "With a warning and a new campaign theme, Scott Walker to rally GOP convention in Milwaukee," 11 May 2018 This excerpt from a Kansas City Police Department incident report in April 17, 2016, details the damage done to a Toyota SUV owned by Ventura. Vahe Gregorian And Maria Torres, kansascity, "Yordano Ventura’s final year filled with family turmoil, emotional distress," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Their determination is captured in a 17-minute documentary, Awakening: After Parkland, premiering Monday on Topic.com and excerpted exclusively above. Jeff Truesdell, PEOPLE.com, "Parkland Shooting Survivors Find Inspiration, Purpose in Staging Timely Musical Born of Teenage Pain," 29 June 2018 Only two Bournonville excerpts shone with a singularity that revealed the personable warmth and gestural ease long associated with the company’s dancers. Robert Greskovic, WSJ, "A Mixed Bill With Varied Results," 22 June 2018 Toward the end, the musicians enacted a rebellion against routine, throwing down their music stands and stalking offstage while a chaotic electronic collage of Beethoven excerpts swelled on the sound system. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "The Sonic Fury of the Ojai Music Festival," 24 June 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

13 Sep 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

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