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 | \ ek-ˈsərpt, 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

All this is celebrated this month not just in the excerpt from Prager’s film Face in the Crowd, which is playing at One World Trade Center, but in a new book, her first monograph, Silver Lake Drive, published by Chronicle Books. Chloe Schama, Vogue, "Alex Prager Wants to Make You Look Twice," 22 Oct. 2018 In an excerpt from Good and Mad published in New York Magazine, Traister cites not only my personal favorite angry American woman, Abigail Adams, but the many times American women’s anger has been the impetus for social movements. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "With Kavanaugh Confirmed, It’s Time to Burn It Down," 6 Oct. 2018 Text previews also make plenty of sense and give you a good excerpt of what your note is about. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "The best note-taking apps for class, work, and life," 31 Aug. 2018 In this exclusive excerpt, Hagey takes us to the fateful 2016 meeting between Redstone and Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman that set in motion the fight that will determine the fate of Redstone's empire after his death. Keach Hagey, The Hollywood Reporter, "The Moment the War for Sumner Redstone’s Media Empire Really Began (Exclusive Book Excerpt)," 26 June 2018 In this excerpt, Comey is comparing Trump to a mob boss. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "The 11 most eye-opening lines in James Comey's 'A Higher Loyalty,' ranked," 13 Apr. 2018 Awesome, but the three sections presented in this excerpt didn’t jell in a way that made sense. Lauren Warnecke, chicagotribune.com, "With group works, jumps and kicks, Giordano Dance Chicago proves it's jazz dance royalty," 25 Mar. 2018 In new excerpt from the forthcoming biography Harry: Life, Loss, and Love, author Katie Nicholl alleges that Prince Harry and his fiancée Meghan Markle both love to watch the Netflix show about the Queen’s reign. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Reportedly Watch The Crown," 17 Mar. 2018 In a book excerpt from The Magnolia Story posted on Cosmopolitan.com, the HGTV star recalls how her proposal went down. Southern Living, "The Sweet Story Behind Joanna Gaines' Engagement Ring Will Make You Teary," 5 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Many of the emails are excerpted and their full context isn’t clear. Kirsten Grind, WSJ, "Facebook’s Zuckerberg at Center of Emails Released by U.K. Parliament," 5 Dec. 2018 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

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

Verb and Noun

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

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Statistics for excerpt

Last Updated

18 Jan 2019

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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).


a complex dispute or argument

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