excellence

excellence, merit, virtue, perfection are comparable when meaning a quality or feature of a person or thing that gives him or it especial worth or value.
Excellence applies to a quality or feature in which the person or thing excels or surpasses others; since the term carries no implication of absence of fault, defect, or blemish, it is often qualified (as by particular, specific, or distinctive)
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the particular excellence of this cake is its lightness

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the great excellence of the eastern tableland was ... in pasture and in forest— Stanley

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spoke of the rude health of their children as if it were a result of moral excellenceConrad

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Merit (see also DUE) may be used interchangeably with excellence, but it typically carries no suggestion of a surpassing quality; rather, it applies to a quality or feature that has evident worth or value or is highly commendable. It is used especially in critical estimates in which good points (merits) are displayed against bad points (defects or faults)
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Mr. Wright's ver-sion of the Iliad, repeating in the main the merits and defects of Cowper's version— A mold

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the faculty of discerning and using conspicuous merit in other people distinguishes the most successful administrators, rulers, and men of business— Eliot

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Virtue, because of the long association of the term with moral goodness (for this sense see GOODNESS) is chiefly applied to a moral excellence or a conspicuous merit of character
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one is inclined to ask whether, when the right path is so easy to them, they really have any virtuesEllis

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reverence for age and authority, even for law, has disappeared; and in the train of these have gone the virtues they engendered and nurtured— Dickinson

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But the term may also apply to the quality or feature that is the source of a person's or thing's peculiar or distinctive strength, power, or efficacy
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the special virtue of a newly discovered remedy for pneumonia

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that unsparing impartiality which is his most distinguishing virtueMacaulay

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Perfection suggests an attainment of the ideal and is usually found in less restrained writing or speech than the other terms when it applies to an excellence in the highest degree
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but eyes, and ears, and ev'ry thought, were with his sweet perfections caught— Spenser

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what tongue can her perfections tell?— Sidney

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Fitzgerald's perfection of style and form, as in The Great Gatsby, has a way of making something that lies between your stomach and your heart quiver a little— Thurber

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Analogous words: value, *worth: property, *quality, character
Antonyms: fault
Contrasted words: *blemish, defect, flaw: failing, frailty, foible, vice (see FAULT)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

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  • excellence — [ ɛkselɑ̃s ] n. f. • 1160; lat. excellentia, de excellere → exceller 1 ♦ Littér. Degré éminent de perfection qu une personne, une chose, a en son genre. ⇒ perfection, supériorité. L excellence d un vin. « S ils connaissaient l excellence de l… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Excellence — is the state or quality of excelling. Particularly in the field of business and organizations, excellence is considered to be an important value, and a goal to be pursued. See also * Excellent Cadavers * Excellent Women * Excellency * National… …   Wikipedia

  • excellence — ex‧cel‧lence [ˈeksləns] noun [uncountable] HUMAN RESOURCES when someone is very good at something, or when something is of very high quality: • Employers should reward achievement and encourage excellence. * * * excellence UK US /ˈeksələns/ noun …   Financial and business terms

  • excellence — Excellence. s. f. v. Degré de perfection au dessus des autres. En quoy consiste l excellence de cette Musique, de cette Comedie, de ce livre? cela est beau par excellence. je n en connois pas l excellence. c est en cela qu est l excellence.… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • excellence — Excellence, Claritas, Exuperantia, Praestantia, Splendor, Excellentia. Excellence de dignité resident en la personne des Rois, ou au corps d un peuple vivant en democratie, Maiestas. Excellence et dignité soit à cause de la race, ou pour quelque… …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • Excellence — Ex cel*lence, n. [F. excellence, L. excellentia.] 1. The quality of being excellent; state of possessing good qualities in an eminent degree; exalted merit; superiority in virtue. [1913 Webster] Consider first that great Or bright infers not… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • excellence — mid 14c., from O.Fr. excellence, from L. excellentia, from excellentem (see EXCELLENT (Cf. excellent)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • excellence — index caliber (quality), efficiency, merit, prowess (ability), right (righteousness), signi …   Law dictionary

  • excellence — [n] superiority arete, class, distinction, éclat, eminence, excellency, fineness, goodness, greatness, high quality, merit, perfection, preeminence, purity, quality, superbness, supremacy, transcendence, virtue, worth; concept 671 Ant. failure,… …   New thesaurus

  • excellence — ► NOUN ▪ the quality of being excellent …   English terms dictionary

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