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From ex- +‎ colō.



excolō (present infinitive excolere, perfect active excoluī, supine excultum); third conjugation

  1. I tend or cultivate (figurative)
  2. I improve or perfect
  3. I honour

Usage notes[edit]

Colō and excolō can be confused in usage. Deriving from the IE root Proto-Indo-European *kʷel-, colō probably had an original sense of turning (plowing for cultivation) the soil, and by extension of inhabiting a place; by further extension, it adopted the senses of improving said habitation by tilling/cultivating the land and through the specific nurture of crops. While the figurative senses of nurturing and improving are attributable to colō, they are more properly rendered by excolō, since nurture and improvement are the parts of the (literal) process of land cultivation "out of" (ex-) which springs excolō, which then renders the figurative and universal sense of tending, nurturing, improving, perfecting, and (in the figurative sense only) cultivating. Colō, cultus and cultiō, then, properly render the senses of tilling/cultivation/tending/nurture/improvement strictly in the agricultural sense, while excolō, excultus, and excultiō properly render the senses of nurture/improvement/perfection, and so improvement by means of effort, labor or study/devotion of one's attention to, all in the general, figurative, non-agricultural sense.


   Conjugation of excolo (third conjugation)
indicative singular plural
first second third first second third
active present excolō excolis excolit excolimus excolitis excolunt
imperfect excolēbam excolēbās excolēbat excolēbāmus excolēbātis excolēbant
future excolam excolēs excolet excolēmus excolētis excolent
perfect excoluī excoluistī excoluit excoluimus excoluistis excoluērunt, excoluēre
pluperfect excolueram excoluerās excoluerat excoluerāmus excoluerātis excoluerant
future perfect excoluerō excolueris excoluerit excoluerimus excolueritis excoluerint
passive present excolor excoleris, excolere excolitur excolimur excoliminī excoluntur
imperfect excolēbar excolēbāris, excolēbāre excolēbātur excolēbāmur excolēbāminī excolēbantur
future excolar excolēris, excolēre excolētur excolēmur excolēminī excolentur
perfect excultus + present active indicative of sum
pluperfect excultus + imperfect active indicative of sum
future perfect excultus + future active indicative of sum
subjunctive singular plural
first second third first second third
active present excolam excolās excolat excolāmus excolātis excolant
imperfect excolerem excolerēs excoleret excolerēmus excolerētis excolerent
perfect excoluerim excoluerīs excoluerit excoluerimus excolueritis excoluerint
pluperfect excoluissem excoluissēs excoluisset excoluissēmus excoluissētis excoluissent
passive present excolar excolāris, excolāre excolātur excolāmur excolāminī excolantur
imperfect excolerer excolerēris, excolerēre excolerētur excolerēmur excolerēminī excolerentur
perfect excultus + present active subjunctive of sum
pluperfect excultus + imperfect active subjunctive of sum
imperative singular plural
first second third first second third
active present excole excolite
future excolitō excolitō excolitōte excoluntō
passive present excolere excoliminī
future excolitor excolitor excoluntor
non-finite forms active passive
present perfect future present perfect future
infinitives excolere excoluisse excultūrus esse excolī excultus esse excultum īrī
participles excolēns excultūrus excultus excolendus
verbal nouns gerund supine
nominative genitive dative/ablative accusative accusative ablative
excolere excolendī excolendō excolendum excultum excultū