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From Latin excrētum, neuter singular of excrētus.



excretum (plural excreta)

  1. singular of excreta
    Synonyms: excrement, excretion
    • 1904, J[ohn] C[hristopher] Willis, A Manual and Dictionary of the Flowering Plants and Ferns (Cambridge Biological Series), 2nd edition, Cambridge, Cambs.: at the University Press, page 201:
      Tannin is contained in many plants and parts of plants; it often occurs in the cells of growing parts, and is then apparently useful in the metabolism. It very often occurs as an excretum in the bark and elsewhere, and it is such parts that are chiefly used as sources of it for commercial purposes.
    • 1914, J[ohn] Alan Murray, The Chemistry of Cattle Feeding and Dairying, London,  []: Longmans, Green, and Co. [], page 12:
      Silica is found in largest quantity in the stems and leaves and in the husks of grain—always in the exterior portions—and is regarded by botanists as of the nature of an excretum.
    • 1917, Henry Prentiss Armsby, The Nutrition of Farm Animals, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company, pages 265, 310, and 454:
      Heat is essentially an excretum to be gotten rid of. [] The remainder is virtually expended in the “work of digestion” and converted into heat, and this heat, since not needed by the animal, becomes an excretum and is gotten rid of. [] In other words, there is for each animal and for each ration a certain temperature above which the heat produced becomes in part an excretum, to be gotten rid of by radiation and evaporation.
    • 1924 December, J[ons] August Fries, Winfred Waite Braman, Donald C[ameron] Cochrane, Relative Utilization of Energy in Milk Production and Body Increase of Dairy Cows (United States Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Pennsylvania State College, Department Bulletin No. 1281), Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, pages 11 (Hair and Scurf Removed by Brushing) and 18 (Computation of Metabolizable Energy):
      The daily growth and loss of hair plus the epithelial offal, or dandruff, may be considered either as a gain of substance together with other forms of production, or as an excretory product. Since in the dairy cow this material is not a desired product, is not accumulative on the animal, and can not, like protein and fat, be again metabolized as a nutrient either in or out of the animal body, it has seemed wisest to treat it as an excretum. [] The milk of the cow may be considered in the same light as body gain, in which case the energy of the excreta must be corrected for the potential energy of the milk protein. On the other hand it may be considered as a product in a sense apart from the body which, being neither body gain nor an excretum, is not involved in the computation of metabolizable energy. [] No. 2. The same as No. 1 except that the heat of fermentation is treated as an excretum.
    • 1926 August, H[arold] Batty Shaw, “Uræmia: Past and Present Conceptions”, in The Practitioner: The Leading Monthly Medical Journal, volume CXVII, number 2, London: The Practitioner, Ltd, [], page 82:
      [U]ræmic symptoms are rather due not to one excretum being retained, for urea, the popular miscreant, even in excessive quantity in the blood cannot cause uræmia—but to the combination of all the excreta, despite the fact that no one has shown that the urine of a normal person or of a so-called uræmic person is toxic to animals; []
    • 1972, J[uraj] Tölgyessy, T[ibor] Braun, M[iroslav] Kyrš, translated by I. Finály, Isotope Dilution Analysis (International Series of Monographs in Analytical Chemistry; 49), Oxford, Oxon, New York, N.Y., Toronto, Ont., Sydney, N.S.W., Braunschweig: Pergamon Press, →LCCN, page 24:
      A biologist studying the degradation of a compound in an organism can introduce the compound in a labelled form into the organism. The specific activity of the compound (S0) is known. After any time desired he can take an excretum or tissue of interest.
    • 1974, G[eorgii] E[vgen’evich] Shul’man, translated by N. Kaner, edited by Hilary Hardin, Life Cycles of Fish: Physiology and Biochemistry (A Halsted Press Book), New York, N.Y., Toronto, Ont.: John Wiley & Sons; Jerusalem; London: Israel Program for Scientific Translations, page 28:
      It is of interest to note that anaerobic decomposition of glycogen followed by "protective synthesis" of the products of glycolysis that are toxic for the organism results in the production of fat in parasitic worms and some protozoans (Brandt, 1951; Read, 1961; Ginetsinskaya and Dobrovol'skii, 1 963; Polyakova and Soprunov, 1963; Polyanskii, 1963). However, in this case it is an excretum and is generally not involved in the energy metabolism of these animals.
    • 2005, Otto Weininger, translated by Ladislaus Löb, “Judaism”, in Daniel Steuer, Laura Marcus, editors, Sex and Character: An Investigation of Fundamental Principles, Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, →ISBN, second or main part (The Sexual Types), page 285:
      Truly, chemistry can only cope with the excrements of living matter: after all, dead matter itself is only an excretum of life.
    • 2016, Anthony Lioi, Nerd Ecology: Defending the Earth with Unpopular Culture (Environmental Cultures), London, New York, N.Y.: Bloomsbury Academic, →ISBN, pages 43–44:
      To borrow terms from Judd Apatow’s seminal Freaks and Geeks, nature is related to culture as freak to geek: failure of substance, or freakishness, naturally leads to a failure of taste, or geekishness. These failures are pathologized as “loser” moves toward “effluvium”: the failed individual becomes a biological waste product, an excretum of a diseased body.






  1. accusative supine of excernō