Definition of excellence in US English:



  • 1The quality of being outstanding or extremely good.

    ‘a center of academic excellence’
    ‘the award for excellence in engineering’
    • ‘Veteran artiste, Sheela, has bagged the special jury award for excellence in acting.’
    • ‘The vision is to be a centre of agricultural excellence for the North of England.’
    • ‘There are also awards for excellence in Literary and Drama, and community work.’
    • ‘Centres of excellence for food and drink manufacturers could be set up in Yorkshire as part of a new national academy.’
    • ‘Both schools earned deserved reputations as centres of educational excellence.’
    • ‘Such a move would further strengthen York's rising role as a centre of horseracing excellence.’
    • ‘King's College Hospital is acknowledged as a centre for excellence in diabetes research.’
    • ‘The old spoils system was replaced by professionalism and academic excellence.’
    • ‘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 school has also won a string of awards for sporting and academic excellence.’
    • ‘Are there real rewards for excellence in academic areas other than research, for instance?’
    • ‘He proved instrumental in providing a centre of basketball excellence based at Whalley Range High School.’
    • ‘The engineering excellence is reflected in the car's impressive technical specification.’
    • ‘Its recommendations include language training and centres of vocational excellence.’
    • ‘Hemingway is also chairman of Building for Life which promotes excellence in the design quality of new housing.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Chicago became an international centre for excellence in all matters relating to money.’
    • ‘It is envisaged as a fully accessible cultural building and a centre for excellence in innovation.’
    distinction, quality, high quality, superiority, brilliance, greatness, merit, calibre, eminence, pre-eminence, supremacy, peerlessness, transcendence, value, worth
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1archaic An outstanding feature or quality.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’


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