Definition of excerpt in English:

Share this entry



Pronunciation: /ˈɛksəːpt/
A short extract from a film, broadcast, or piece of music or writing: she read out excerpts from an article in the Times
More example sentences
  • The soundtrack section plays short excerpts of the music, which should get a lot of credit for establishing the mood of the film.
  • He'd only read small excerpts from her previous writing, and she was still in the process of entering her prime.
  • Her ‘reading list’ includes magazine articles, excerpts from books, film clips, recorded music, and cartoons.
extract, part, section, piece, portion, fragment, snippet, clip, bit, selection, reading;
citation, quotation, quote, line, paragraph, passage, scene, verse, stanza, canto;
North American  cite
rare pericope


Pronunciation: /ɪkˈsəːpt/
Pronunciation: /ɛkˈsəːpt/
[with object]
1Take (a short extract) from a text: the notes are excerpted from his forthcoming biography
More example sentences
  • This article is excerpted from the forthcoming premiere issue of the journal of Green Cross International, The Optimist.
  • The above is excerpted from a short poem I wrote about something that indeed happened to me in Prague.
  • This article is excerpted from their forthcoming book, Surviving Galeras, to be published this month by Houghton Mifflin.
1.1Take an excerpt or excerpts from (a text): a book excerpted in this week’s Time magazine
More example sentences
  • First, my favourite academic Mark Kaplan has added another blog to his roster, this one a Critical Dictionary excerpting informative texts to explain apparently difficult concepts in continental philosophy.
  • The good people at National Review Online have excerpted a chapter from Steven's book, dealing with the insurgents.
  • In a related side-note, I downloaded excerpted chapters from Zeldman's Web Standards Book.



Pronunciation: /ɪkˈsəːptɪb(ə)l/ Pronunciation: /ɛkˈsəːptɪb(ə)l/


Pronunciation: /ɛkˈsəːpʃ(ə)n/
Example sentences
  • Thank you.… where your Honour sees three excerptions from the relevant provisions.


Mid 16th century (as a verb): from Latin excerpt- 'plucked out', from the verb excerpere, from ex- 'out of' + carpere 'to pluck'.

  • carpet from Middle English:

    Originally tables or beds, not floors, were covered by a carpet, and it is the early ‘tablecloth’ meaning that is behind the expression on the carpet, ‘being severely reprimanded by someone in authority’. The phrase originally had the meaning, ‘under consideration or discussion’, and referred to the covering of a council table, where official documents for discussion were placed. A matter up for discussion at a meeting was on the carpet, just as we might now say on the table. The modern sense of carpet is found when you sweep something under the carpet to hide or ignore a problem in the hope that it will be forgotten. The word carpet is from old Italian carpita ‘woollen bedspread’, which was based on Latin carpere ‘to pluck, pull to pieces’, the source of carp (Middle English), ‘to criticise’, and excerpt (mid 16th century) ‘pull bits out’. See also harvest

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ex|cerpt

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.