ex·​cess | \ ik-ˈses How to pronounce excess (audio) , ˈek-ˌses How to pronounce excess (audio) \

Definition of excess

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : the state or an instance of surpassing usual, proper, or specified limits : superfluity
b : the amount or degree by which one thing or quantity exceeds another an excess of 10 bushels
2 : undue or immoderate indulgence : intemperance also : an act or instance of intemperance prevent excesses and abuses by newly created local powers — Albert Shanker
in excess of
: to an amount or degree beyond : over



Definition of excess (Entry 2 of 3)

: more than the usual, proper, or specified amount


excessed; excessing; excesses

Definition of excess (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to eliminate the position of excessed several teachers because of budget cutbacks

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Examples of excess in a Sentence


They were equipped with an excess of provisions. The tests found an excess of sodium in his blood. He lived a life of excess. The movie embraces all the worst excesses of popular American culture. the violent excesses of the military regime He apologized for his past excesses.


Basketball provided an outlet for their excess energy. She is trying to eliminate excess fat and calories from her diet.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Daniel Jacobs, Alvarez’s last opponent in May, received in excess of $12 million for his fight, and Kovalev’s camp was looking for a more handsome offer. Manouk Akopyan, Los Angeles Times, "Canelo Alvarez decides to skip September fight this year," 17 July 2019 Sub-Saharan Africa will be home to more than 90 cities with populations in excess of 1 million people. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "Africa Is Tech’s Next Great Frontier, Github A.I. Lead Says," 17 July 2019 The law prohibits federal agencies from spending funds in excess of what Congress has appropriated and from accepting volunteer services. Julissa Arce, Time, "Americans Aren't Allowed to Donate to and Volunteer at Migrant Detention Centers. There's No Good Reason for That Policy," 16 July 2019 That's roughly the long-term average annual return for balanced portfolios — and more than enough to grow your wealth in excess of inflation. Russ Wiles, azcentral, "After a decade of expanding economy, are you better off?," 14 July 2019 Among the Nifty50 companies, five companies—Wipro (73.90%), TCS (72.10%), Coal India (71%) and Hindustan Unilever (67.2%) and Bharti Airtel (67.1%)—had promoter holding in excess of 65% as of March 31, 2019. Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "India’s union budget brings bad news for some big listed companies," 5 July 2019 The second incident involved two adults and four kids who had to hold onto a pier and were unable to get out of the water because of waves in excess of three feet. Evan Frank, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Boaters escape injury after their kayaks capsize on Lac La Belle in Oconomowoc," 1 July 2019 In December, Universal Music Group announced that the 1975 title track has become the 20th century’s most streamed song, in excess of 1.6 billion global steams. Melinda Newman, Billboard, "Sony/ATV Hopes 'Yesterday' Appeals to Tomorrow's Beatles Fans," 26 June 2019 Collier said Scott-Allen wants at least $1 million in lost past and future potential wages, plus emotional damages in excess of $770,000. Janelle Bitker, SFChronicle.com, "Jurors begin deliberation in Thomas Keller pregnancy discrimination trial," 25 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Some economists therefore expect attempts to mitigate the negative impact of rate cuts by excusing banks from negative rates on some excess reserves. The Economist, "Many think the European Central Bank will cut rates soon," 20 July 2019 Blooms occur in shallow bodies of fresh water, when excess phosphorus and nitrogen mix with warm temperatures and sunlight. Laura Johnston, cleveland.com, "How to check water quality at Cleveland beaches," 18 July 2019 Under it, companies are given annual carbon allowances and must offset any excess emissions by buying carbon credits on the open market. Geoffrey Smith, Fortune, "Europe Wants to Be the World’s Climate Change Police—If Only It Can Agree on What That Means," 18 July 2019 Working in batches, lift pieces of chicken out of the buttermilk, letting the excess drain, then add to the paper bag. Los Angeles Times, "Jonathan Gold’s fried chicken," 18 July 2019 To assemble cake: Remove ice cream layers and serving platter from freezer. Unwrap the tops of the ice cream layers and using the excess plastic wrap, remove layers from pans. Jess Fleming, Twin Cities, "Ice cream cake from scratch tastes better and can be customized," 17 July 2019 Shake the excess water off vigorously and let drain for at least 15 minutes. Alexandra Hall, BostonGlobe.com, "Can you make a vegetarian meal on the grill? Let local chefs show you how," 17 July 2019 To ensure that the basmati ends up tender and fluffy, before cooking rinse the grains thoroughly in several changes of water to remove excess starch. Kitty Greenwald, WSJ, "This Rice Recipe Has Everything, Plus a Turmeric-Butter-Fried Egg," 11 July 2019 Unlike your average beauty line, this one is formulated with sweaty faces and bodies in mind, made with shine-reducing ingredients like tapioca starch to absorb excess oil and moisturizing ones, like shea butter and coconut oil. Tiffany Dodson, SELF, "I Sweat My Way Through Lululemon's New Line of Exercise-Friendly Beauty Products," 11 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The new study found that ovarian and rectal cancers were not linked either to excess weight or rapid weight gain among the women tracked — something of a surprise. Melissa Healy, latimes.com, "Obesity may make women more vulnerable to a host of cancers, especially if they gain weight quickly," 23 May 2018 Party buses operate in a gray area where adults are allowed to drink, and often do to excess. Lavendrick Smith And Steve Harrison, charlotteobserver, "After a party bus tragedy, California passed new rules. Will that happen in NC? | Charlotte Observer," 4 May 2018 States with below average shares of adults who drink to excess typically have lower incomes. Cheyenne Buckingham, USA TODAY, "These are America’s drunkest states," 8 Mar. 2018 Some 20% of adults drink to excess in Michigan, more than the comparable national share of 18%. Cheyenne Buckingham, USA TODAY, "These are America’s drunkest states," 8 Mar. 2018 However, when the horrors are directly presented in the second half, the play falls into a mix of bloated melodrama with Grand Guignol excesses that grow tiresome after a long three hours. Theodore P. Mahne, NOLA.com, "Early Williams' 'Not About Nightingales' a brutal work, difficult to sustain," 8 Dec. 2017 WeWork’s deal to buy a century-old department store building may add another icon to excess to the neighborhood. Justin Lahart, WSJ, "WeWork’s Lord & Taylor Deal: Savvy Move or Top of the Market?," 24 Oct. 2017 In the months before the event men live in isolation and drink to excess a mixture of cow milk and cow blood for months in order to become vastly bloated and overweight. Tim Spector, CNN, "I spent three days as a hunter-gatherer to see if it would improve my gut health," 5 July 2017 The drunkest city in America - at least according to one recent ranking - is Green Bay, Wisconsin, where a whopping 27 percent of adults reports drinking to excess in the last 30 days. Leada Gore, AL.com, "2 of the most stone-cold sober cities in America are in Alabama," 25 May 2017

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1971, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for excess


Middle English, from Anglo-French or Late Latin; Anglo-French exces, from Late Latin excessus, from Latin, departure, projection, from excedere to exceed

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Statistics for excess

Last Updated

21 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for excess

The first known use of excess was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for excess



English Language Learners Definition of excess

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an amount that is more than the usual or necessary amount
: behavior that is considered wrong because it goes beyond what is usual, normal, or proper
: actions or ways of behaving that go beyond what is usual or proper



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

: more than is usual, allowed, or needed


ex·​cess | \ ik-ˈses How to pronounce excess (audio) , ˈek-ˌses\

Kids Definition of excess

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a state of being more than enough Don't eat to excess.
2 : the amount by which something is or has too much



Kids Definition of excess (Entry 2 of 2)

: more than is usual or acceptable



Legal Definition of excess

: more than a usual or specified amount specifically : additional to an amount specified under another insurance policy excess coverage excess insurance

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More from Merriam-Webster on excess

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with excess

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for excess

Spanish Central: Translation of excess

Nglish: Translation of excess for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of excess for Arabic Speakers

Comments on excess

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


to complain fretfully

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