\ \ [14] The underlying notion of excellent is of physically ‘rising above’ others. It comes via Old French from the present participle of Latin excellere. This was a compound verb formed from the prefix ex- ‘out’ and a hypothetical verbal element *cellere, which evidently meant something like ‘rise, be high’: it derived ultimately from an Indo-European base *kol-, *kel- which also produced English column, culminate, and hill. There is little evidence of its literal use in Latin; the metaphorical ‘be outstanding’ evidently elbowed it aside at an early stage. (English acquired excel itself in the 15th century, incidentally.)

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.


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  • excellent — excellent, ente [ ɛkselɑ̃, ɑ̃t ] adj. • XIIe; lat. excellens, p. prés. de excellere → exceller ♦ Qui, dans son genre, atteint un degré éminent de perfection; très bon. ⇒ admirable, merveilleux, parfait, supérieur. A ♦ 1 ♦ (Choses) Un lit… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • excellent — excellent, ente (è ksè lan, lan t ) adj. 1°   Qui est à un degré éminent, qui l emporte. •   Il fut appelé à cette excellente fonction de ministre du Dieu vivant pour la défense de l Église et pour le salut des peuples, BOURDAL. Panég. de S.… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • excellent — Excellent, [excell]ente. adj. v. Qui excelle. Excellent vin. chere excellente. goust excellent. fruits, melons excellents. ces chevaux là sont excellents. Musique excellente. excellente piece de theatre. excellent Musicien. excellent Poëte.… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • excellent — Excellent, Exquisitus, Praestabilis, Singularis, Splendidus, Clarus, Praeclarus, Excellens. Excellent et comme separé du troupeau, Egregius, Eximius. Excellent en perfection, Absolutus. Excellent en sagesse, Antecellens sapientia. Le plus… …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • Excellent — Ex cel*lent, a. [F. excellent, L. excellens, entis, p. pr. of excellere. See {Excel}.] 1. Excelling; surpassing others in some good quality or the sum of qualities; of great worth; eminent, in a good sense; superior; as, an excellent man, artist …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Excellent — may refer to:*Excellence *Excellent ring, in mathematics *Excellent scheme, in mathematicsee also*Excellence (disambiguation) …   Wikipedia

  • excellent — mid 14c., from O.Fr. excellent outstanding, excellent, from L. excellentem (nom. excellens), prp. of excellere (see EXCEL (Cf. excel)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • excellent — can be qualified by quite or most, which are adverbs with absolute meaning, but not by very or more, which are grading adverbs: • The quite excellent British Museum Press, which is managing to produce some twenty scholarly titles this season Art… …   Modern English usage

  • Excellent — Ex cel*lent, adv. Excellently; eminently; exceedingly. [Obs.] This comes off well and excellent. Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Excellent — (v. lat.), vortrefflich, herrlich …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Excellent — Excellent, lat. deutsch, vortrefflich; herrlich; excelliren, sich auszeichnen …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

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