excelsior 1[ik-sel-see-er, ek-] ExamplesWord Origin noun

  1. fine wood shavings, used for stuffing, packing, etc.
  2. Printing. a 3-point type: a size smaller than brilliant.

Origin of excelsior 1An Americanism dating back to 1770–80; formerly a trademark excelsior 2[ek-sel-si-ohr; English ik-sel-see-awr, ek-] adjective Latin.

  1. ever upward: motto of New York State.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019 Examples from the Web for excelsior Contemporary Examples of excelsior

  • In Minneapolis, Minnesota, and outside of it, on 40 acres of half-hearted farmland outside of Excelsior, Minnesota.

    Charles Baxter: How I Write

    Noah Charney

    August 7, 2013

  • Historical Examples of excelsior

  • I heard her reciting Longfellow’s Excelsior; and such reading, and such gestures!

    The Universal Reciter


  • That mine was the Excelsior, and it’s just as productive to-day as it ever was.

    Cy Whittaker’s Place

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Remove all excelsior and the other packing material from the top of the cells.

    The Automobile Storage Battery

    O. A. Witte

  • Wrap the skull muscles on with excelsior rolled in palms of hands.


    Leon Luther Pray

  • It’s in some boxes and barrels that contain straw and excelsior.

    The Rover Boys on Snowshoe Island

    Edward Stratemeyer

  • British Dictionary definitions for excelsior excelsior interjection, adverb, noun

    1. excellent: used as a motto and as a trademark for various products, esp in the US for fine wood shavings used for packing breakable objects
    2. upwards

    Word Origin for excelsior C19: from Latin: higher Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012 Word Origin and History for excelsior

    Latin excelsior “higher,” comp. of excelsus (adj.) “high, elevated, lofty,” past participle of excellere (see excel), taken 1778 as motto of New York State, where it apparently was mistaken for an adverb. Popularized 1841 as title of a poem by Longfellow. As a trade name for “thin shavings of soft wood used for stuffing cushions, etc.,” first recorded 1868, American English.

    Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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