Definition of excel in English:



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  • 1Be exceptionally good at or proficient in an activity or subject.

    ‘she excelled at landscape painting’
    • ‘Downland not only excels in physical activities but in the academic sphere as well.’
    • ‘He has the speed and strength to rush the passer and also excels in pass coverage.’
    • ‘The capital side have been excelling in ladies football for the past few seasons, however this team now feels capable of taking on anyone.’
    • ‘By all reports he is well adjusted, excelling in his academic and sports activities.’
    • ‘But of course, it's the big jaunty disco showstoppers at which she excels.’
    • ‘The ceremony included the honouring of budding students of the school for excelling in various activities.’
    • ‘This year's taxable activity is one at which we excel - working and paying wages.’
    • ‘His rich father purchased him a prized education, but it was football at which the young Watson excelled.’
    • ‘He might not have the normal wherewithal for all the range of subjects, but in the areas that he excels at he is very, very intelligent.’
    • ‘She excelled in every subject and was friends with just about the entire school.’
    • ‘He began to excel in it and represented Horwich in the final Youth Games held last weekend.’
    • ‘It is the kind of scene at which McEwan excels: his depiction of the showdown is tense, visual and dramatic.’
    • ‘He has also been a wonderful football coach and player, excelling in all the various positions on the field.’
    • ‘It also released the actor into the roving role in which he excels.’
    • ‘Again mathematics was his favourite subject but he also excelled at divinity.’
    • ‘The school chose to specialise in media after an audit showed pupils were increasingly opting for the subject and excelling.’
    • ‘She was a golden girl in her youth, having excelled academically and at sport.’
    • ‘Plus the fact that I happen to excel in all subjects, a bigger brain usage will do that to you.’
    • ‘On the other hand, there is one thing that the party has been excelling at - the ability to expand its money-making activities.’
    • ‘Also shortlisted was a Chelmsford mother-of-three who excels as a football coach.’
    shine, be very good, be excellent, be brilliant, be outstanding, be skilful, be talented, be proficient, be expert, be pre-eminent, reign supreme, wear the crown, stand out, be the best, be unrivalled, be unparalleled, be unequalled, be without equal, be second to none, be unsurpassed
    surpass, outdo, outshine, outclass, outstrip, beat, beat hollow, top, cap, transcend, be better than, be superior to, go one better than, better, pass, eclipse, overshadow, put in the shade, put to shame
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    1. 1.1excel oneselfBritish Perform exceptionally well.
      ‘the keeper excelled himself to keep out an Elliott header’
      • ‘Lambie's side now sit nine points clear of the chasing pack and they excelled themselves here with penetrating one-touch football, but ultimately they were sucker-punched.’
      • ‘As he sits down in the congregation, and we all know the truth of what is about to happen, Robert Rodriguez's musical score excels itself.’
      • ‘During the course of this extraordinarily long movie, my children grew up, left home and had children of their own, Sam, in particular, excelling himself with a successful legal practice aimed at weeding out fraudulent accident claims.’
      • ‘Last week, Madonna, an assisted blonde, 45-year-old mum-of-two, excelled herself by performing a manoeuvre that looked like upside-down bicycling on stage before thousands of astonished and, it has to be said, envious fans.’
      • ‘Mr Collings said this is when a child excels themselves.’
      • ‘It is, however, wrong of me to praise individuals for the entire cast excelled themselves and provided to each audience (I believe the whole week was fully booked out) an evening of genuine entertainment.’
      • ‘First stop was the Oh So Famous SpiegelTent which this year is excelling itself.’
      • ‘Angela Gheorghiu in the title role excels herself, immediately establishing herself among the greats.’
      • ‘Chris DiMarco, the American who has a track record of excelling himself in the season's first major, was neck and neck with Mickelson.’
      • ‘Wilson excels himself - this is vivid, immediate history, accurate, complex and tinged with personality.’
      • ‘The chorus excels itself, as New Yorkers, suburbanites, cowboys and gods, while blending fluently with the eight professional dancers in William Tuckett's zippy choreography.’
      • ‘Indeed, my friends - a constant source of paranoia at the best of times - have been excelling themselves with this announcement of departure.’
      • ‘We thought that £7,000 for Children in Need was good, but Woodham people have excelled themselves again.’
      • ‘The Pendle team were a little thin on the ground, but those who did compete excelled themselves with a total of 16 personal best performances.’
      • ‘Despite my personal gripes with Beckett and his self-conscious intellectualism, ATD Productions have excelled themselves in creating what is a truly brilliant adaptation of an impossibly difficult play.’
      • ‘Jess really excels himself here, in his evocation/evisceration of two videos we've also skewered at k-punk, though much less eloquently.’
      • ‘I'm delighted with the organisation and the transport planners excelled themselves.’
      • ‘The astronomer and broadcaster Sir Patrick Moore, Royal Ballet principal ballerina Deborah Bull and former champion athlete Steve Cram will line up with 13 other individuals who have excelled themselves in their field.’
      • ‘Students from Hounslow Borough excelled themselves this year at the annual training camp for Army Cadets at Westdown on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, coming away with top awards and the Queen's medal.’
      • ‘The keeper then excelled himself by reacting quickly to block the rebound from Adam and, unbelievably, Dundee were still ahead.’
      attain distinction, be successful, bring fame to oneself, bring honour to oneself, become famous, dignify oneself, glorify oneself, excel oneself, win acclaim for oneself, ennoble oneself, become lionized, become immortalized, elevate oneself
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Late Middle English: from Latin excellere, from ex- ‘out, beyond’ + celsus ‘lofty’.