The Meaning of Excerpt: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of excerpt? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word excerpt, including its definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word excerpt mean?

According to the Merriam Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word excerpt (pronunciation of excerpt: ​​​ˈɛksɜːpt) can be used as a noun or a verb. As a verb, this word means to pluck or select passages, and usually refers to a passage from novels or another literary work. A book agent might excerpt representative sections from a book to send to a publisher at Random House or Harpercollins Publishers. Except is also used as a noun, which refers to the passage or selection itself. There are other suffixes people can add to the same root as excerpt other than cerpt. These include tor, ble, tion, er, ed and ing. Try using flashcards to learn this and other new literary critical terms!

Many different languages also contain words that mean excerpt. You might notice that some of these words look and sound similar to one another. These are called cognates. This is when two words of the same meaning between languages also look and sound similar. These are often formed when two words have the same root or language of origin. This list of translations of excerpt is provided by Word Sense.

  •  French: extrait‎ (masc.), passage‎ (masc.)
  •  Czech: výňatek‎ (masc.)
  •  Greek: απόσπασμα‎ (neut.)
  •  Japanese: 抜粋‎ (bassui), 抄録‎ (shōroku)
  •  Arabic: نبذة – مقتطفات من‎ ​السياق
  •  Portuguese: trecho‎ (masc.), passagem‎ (fem.), excerto‎ (masc.)
  •  Russian: отры́вок‎ (masc.), вы́держка‎ (fem.)
  •  Swedish: utdrag‎ (neut.)
  •  Finnish: poiminto‎, ote‎, katkelma‎
  •  Hungarian: kivonat‎, szemelvény‎
  •  Icelandic: brot‎ (neut.), hluti‎ (neut.)
  •  Slovene: odlomek‎ (masc.), izvleček‎ (masc.), izsek‎ (masc.)
  •  Polish: fragment‎ (masc.), urywek‎ (masc.)
  •  Dutch: fragment, passage‎
  •  Bulgarian: откъс‎ (masc.), извадка‎ (fem.)
  •  German: Auszug‎
  •  Norwegian: utdrag‎
  •  Spanish: extracto‎ (masc.), excerpto‎
  •  Russian: ​​п​​​​ереводчик контекст
  •  Hebrew: ​תרגום בהקשר
  •  Mandarin: 翻译

How can the word excerpt be used in a sentence?

The word excerpt can be used in many different ways. Below are some examples of excerpt.

The editor put a selection of the author’s latest novel in the paper in June in order to ​​​increase readers’ interest before its release in July.

The man preferred to listen to an excerpt from the musical composition on compact disc rather than the longer work. He felt that the larger work dragged on, but this distinct selection of music was heavenly.

On the Sabbath, the rabbi took an excerpt from the Torah to read in front of the attendees of the Jewish synagogue. He felt that reading a short selection from many different authors and prophets was a great way to keep their attention. 

The prospective student enjoyed reading the collection of excerpts from students at Princeton University and Cambridge University. The selection of passages made her excited to attend.

The first cut of the title track of the album was an excerpt from the musician’s childhood performance. 

The short excerpts of the music in the soundtrack section of the movies did not violate the conditions of use under copyright law, but the longer pieces did. The filmmaker from Prague believed that the short works enhanced the mood of the film, especially in the first scene, and did not get permission of the publisher. 

The news story took an accurate excerpt from the witness’s statement and turned it into a lie. The newscaster used guesswork and sloppy journalism skills, and told viewers uninformed facts during the broadcast and news article.

Critics felt the short poem on the ​​book’s color jack​et was an expressive work – and better than any of the full chapters.

The dancer appreciated the spirited interpretation of the different versions of the quiet music at the upcoming independent dance show about metamorphosis. She felt that the French influences really added to the excerpts that were performed.

The president of the drama club took excerpts from the performance of Hamlet to put on social media. These soon became favourite videos among the students. 

The literary composition took excerpts from the copy sample material. 

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word excerpt?

There are many different words and phrases that a person can use in place of the word excerpt. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another given word or phrase. Learning synonyms is a great way to avoid repeating yourself, as well as expanding your English language vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word excerpt is provided by Thesaurus.

  • plum
  •  quantity
  •  quotation
  •  fix
  •  moiety
  •  portion
  •  allowance
  •  excerpt
  •  helping
  •  part
  •  piece
  •  gob
  •  division
  •  measure
  •  saying
  •  verse
  •  lion’s share
  •  section
  •  scrap
  •  selection
  •  notation
  •  morsel
  •  fragment
  •  clause
  •  smithereen
  •  member
  •  lump
  •  transition
  •  passage
  •  dram
  •  text
  •  piece of action
  •  clip
  •  hunk
  •  divvy
  •  extract
  •  hit
  •  quote
  •  bang
  •  apportionment
  •  pericope
  •  paragraph
  •  allotment
  •  fraction
  •  meed
  •  allocation
  •  note
  •  segment
  •  serving
  •  citation
  •  sentence
  •  slug
  •  parcel
  •  chunk
  •  bit
  •  shot
  •  quantum
  •  lagniappe
  •  drag
  •  quota
  •  lot
  •  taste
  •  reading
  •  snippet

There are also numerous different words and phrases that have the opposite meaning as the word excerpt. These opposite words are called antonyms, which are another great way to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word excerpt is also provided by Thesaurus.

  • whole ball of wax
  •  absoluteness
  •  everything
  •  all
  •  collectivity
  •  collectiveness
  •  gross
  •  entirety
  •  aggregate
  •  integrality
  •  whole
  •  omneity
  •  ensemble
  •  oneness
  •  comprehensiveness
  •  entireness
  •  the works
  •  total
  •  universality
  •  undividedness
  •  wholeness
  •  integrity
  •  omnitude
  •  complex
  •  unity
  •  intactness
  •  perfection
  •  sum total
  •  totality
  •  fullness
  •  plenitude
  •  whole enchilada
  •  whole nine yards
  •  completeness
  •  allness
  •  whole bit
  •  sum

What is the origin of the word excerpt?

According to Etymonline, the word excerpt (​ɛkˈsɜːpt) has been used as a verb since the early 15c. This is implied in excerpte, from the Latin excerptus and Latin excerptum, the past participle of excerpere, meaning to pluck out, pick out, or extract. This word is used figuratively to mean to choose, select or gather, and also to leave out or omit. This comes from the root ex and carpere, from the Proto-Indo-European roots kerp. The noun excerpt has been used since the 1690s. 

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Overall, the word excerpt means

Sources: 

  1. EXCERPT Synonyms: 32 Synonyms & Antonyms for EXCERPT | Thesaurus 
  2. ENTIRETY Synonyms: 39 Synonyms & Antonyms for ENTIRETY 
  3. excerpt: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  4. excerpt | Origin and meaning of excerpt | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Excerpt | Definition of Excerpt | Merriam-Webster