Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


About | Media | Search | Contact  


Today's Word

Yesterday's Word



Jun 5, 2001
This week's theme
Words from the names of newspapers

This week's words

A.Word.A.Day on your site
Add the daily word to your web page. It is free.
Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share
with Anu Garg


Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

excelsior (ik-SEL-see-uhr) noun

Wood shavings used for packing fragile items.

[From a trademark. From Latin, literally higher, from excelsus, high.]

"In a glint of needle light, of grass seeds, dew flecks, a friend is throwing her voice
While far inside a grainy heaven a butcher's apron ripples its dried blood in the wind.
The bark strippings, excelsior, the panicles of the garden. In the midst of summer a friend cuts greens and places them in a bowl as if they were fronds.
A friend is a vinegar - and now, pearl-shaped, in clusters, faces among her face,
As globes rise on the lawn, each above a root of recriminations."
Garden solstice; The Antioch Review; Jun 1, 1996.

The word excelsior is also the motto of the New York state. It is also the title of a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Of course, here they are not exhorting us to take inspiration from wood shavings. Rather these refer to the Latin sense of the word. -Anu

Examples: The Daily Excelsior (India); the Excelsior (Mexico).


If you are afraid of being lonely, don't try to be right. -Jules Renard, writer (1864-1910)

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere


Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2024 Wordsmith