Definition of excellence in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The quality of being outstanding or extremely good.

    ‘awards for excellence’
    ‘a centre of academic excellence’
    • ‘Its recommendations include language training and centres of vocational excellence.’
    • ‘Both schools earned deserved reputations as centres of educational excellence.’
    • ‘The vision is to be a centre of agricultural excellence for the North of England.’
    • ‘Such a move would further strengthen York's rising role as a centre of horseracing excellence.’
    • ‘Hemingway is also chairman of Building for Life which promotes excellence in the design quality of new housing.’
    • ‘Centres of excellence for food and drink manufacturers could be set up in Yorkshire as part of a new national academy.’
    • ‘Veteran artiste, Sheela, has bagged the special jury award for excellence in acting.’
    • ‘It is envisaged as a fully accessible cultural building and a centre for excellence in innovation.’
    • ‘Of course, they must still be seen as centres of academic excellence and the source of quality graduates.’
    • ‘These collaborations provide contact with expertise and academic excellence.’
    • ‘The old spoils system was replaced by professionalism and academic excellence.’
    • ‘There are also awards for excellence in Literary and Drama, and community work.’
    • ‘Chicago became an international centre for excellence in all matters relating to money.’
    • ‘The school has also won a string of awards for sporting and academic excellence.’
    • ‘The engineering excellence is reflected in the car's impressive technical specification.’
    • ‘He proved instrumental in providing a centre of basketball excellence based at Whalley Range High School.’
    • ‘Aviation experts at Gosport have won a top national award for engineering excellence.’
    • ‘As partial academics they are unable to sponsor, promote or foster academic excellence.’
    • ‘Are there real rewards for excellence in academic areas other than research, for instance?’
    • ‘King's College Hospital is acknowledged as a centre for excellence in diabetes research.’
    distinction, quality, high quality, superiority, brilliance, greatness, merit, calibre, eminence, pre-eminence, supremacy, peerlessness, transcendence, value, worth
    skill, talent, genius, virtuosity, accomplishment, expertness, mastery, prowess, ability
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1archaic [count noun]An outstanding feature or quality.
      • ‘A life full of ethical and intellectual excellences and activity according to those excellences does not suffice for happiness if pleasure is insufficiently present, or if too much pain is present.’
      • ‘Certainly not in either of Pynchon's subsequent novels, Vineland and Mason & Dixon, each of which has its many excellences, but neither of which anyone is planning to take with them to the moon.’
      • ‘For the nurse, virtues and excellences are those habits that affirm and promote the values of human dignity, well-being, respect, health, independence, and other values central to nursing.’
      • ‘The problem, then, is to find some way to measure a student's potential that still leaves administrators enough leeway to ensure that campus life benefits from a rich variety of excellences and life experiences.’
      • ‘What we need instead is a richer, more truthful account of human nature, one that comprehends the excellences and passions, the joys and miseries, of being the only animal who knows, loves, and thinks about death.’


Late Middle English: from Latin excellentia, from the verb excellere surpass (see excel).