One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1‘he excelled at football’
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
rare be unexampled
2‘she excelled him in her command of the language’
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
informal best, leave standing, be head and shoulders above, be a cut above
archaic extinguish, outrival, outvie
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