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From Latin excelsior, comparative of excelsus (high). The name of the stuffing material was originally a trademark.



excelsior (not comparable)

  1. (archaic) Loftier, yet higher, more elevated; ever upward.
  2. More surpassing, more excelling.



  1. A greeting, farewell or acclamation, especially associated with comic book fandom and famous comic book writer Stan Lee.


excelsior (uncountable)

  1. (US printing, dated) The size of type between Norse and brilliant, standardized as 3-point.
    Synonym: (UK) minikin
Excelsior packing material, also known as wood wool
Excelsior packing material, also known as wood wool
  1. (Canada, US) Stuffing material (as for furniture and mattresses) made of slender, curled woodshavings, as a substitute for hair.
    Synonym: wood wool
    • 1942, Elliot Paul, The Last Time I Saw Paris, Sickle Moon, published 2001, page 91:
      These little mangers, with baby dolls representing Jesus, porcelean Josephs and Marys, wide-eyed cows of papier-mâché, and excelsior for straw, were purchased by pious parents for well-behaved children at Christmas-tide.
    • 1960, John Updike, 'Rabbit, Run', page 13:
      Working both [of them] at Kroll's then, she selling candy and cashews in a white smock with "Jan" stitched on her pocket and he lugging easy chairs and maple end tables around on the floor above, hammering apart packing crates from nine to five, the itch of the packing excelsior getting into his nose and eyes and making them burn.
    • 2015 March 31, Margalit Fox, “Gary Dahl, Inventor of the Pet Rock, Dies at 78”, in The New York Times[1], →ISSN:
      Each Pet Rock came in a cardboard carrying case, complete with air holes, tenderly nestled on a bed of excelsior.


Further reading[edit]



excelsus (elevated”, “lofty) +‎ -ior (suffix forming adjectives’ comparative degrees)



excelsior (neuter excelsius); third declension

  1. comparative degree of excelsus


Third-declension comparative adjective.

Number Singular Plural
Case / Gender Masc./Fem. Neuter Masc./Fem. Neuter
Nominative excelsior excelsius excelsiōrēs excelsiōra
Genitive excelsiōris excelsiōrum
Dative excelsiōrī excelsiōribus
Accusative excelsiōrem excelsius excelsiōrēs excelsiōra
Ablative excelsiōre excelsiōribus
Vocative excelsior excelsius excelsiōrēs excelsiōra