From Middle English exces (excess, ecstasy), from Old French exces, from Latin excessus (a going out, loss of self-possession), from excedere, excessum (to go out, go beyond). See exceed.


  • IPA(key): /əkˈsɛs/, /ɛkˈsɛs/, /ɪk.ˈsɛs/, /ˈɛksɛs/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛs


excess (countable and uncountable, plural excesses)

English Wikipedia has an article on:
English Wikipedia has an article on:
  1. The state of surpassing or going beyond limits; the being of a measure beyond sufficiency, necessity, or duty; that which exceeds what is usual or proper
    The excess of heavy water was given away to the neighbouring country.
    • c. 1597, William Shakespeare, King John, act 4, scene 2:
      To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
      To throw a perfume on the violet, . . .
      Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.
    • c. 1690, William Walsh, "Jealosy", in The Poetical Works of William Walsh (1797), page 19 (Google preview):
      That kills me with excess of grief, this with excess of joy.
  2. The degree or amount by which one thing or number exceeds another; remainder.
    The difference between two numbers is the excess of one over the other.
  3. An undue indulgence of the appetite; transgression of proper moderation in natural gratifications; intemperance; dissipation.
  4. (geometry) Spherical excess, the amount by which the sum of the three angles of a spherical triangle exceeds two right angles. The spherical excess is proportional to the area of the triangle.
  5. (Britain, insurance) A condition on an insurance policy by which the insured pays for a part of the claim.



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excess (not comparable)

  1. More than is normal, necessary or specified.

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excess (third-person singular simple present excesses, present participle excessing, simple past and past participle excessed)

  1. (US, transitive) To declare (an employee) surplus to requirements, such that he or she might not be given work.
    • 2008 May 3, “When New York Teachers Don’t Teach”, in New York Times[1]:
      In 2006, I was excessed because my program had to make a few cuts and a new, inexperienced supervisor decided that he couldn’t handle a knowledgeable older teacher so he removed me.

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Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for excess in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)