par excellence

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowing from French par excellence (excellently, in an especially representative way; above all), on the model of Latin per excellentiam.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌpɑːɹ ˌɛksəˈlɑːns/, /ˌpɑːɹ ˈɛksəlɑːns/, /ˌpɑːɹ ˌɛksəˈlɒ̃s/, /ˌpɑːɹ ˈɛksəlɒ̃s/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌpɑɹ ˌɛksəˈlɑns/

Adverb[edit]

par excellence (not comparable)

  1. Because or on account of one's excellence.
    • 1584, George Peele, The Araygnement of Paris, ii, i:
      The name of Venus is in deede but bautye,
      And men me fayrest call, per excellencye.
  2. Most excellently, variously intending
    1. Most especially, in particular, most notably (out of a thing or person's other attributes, roles, &c.).
      • 2009, John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion:
        He was par excellence a theologian.
    2. In a superior way, in the most representative or fully-developed manner.
      • 1877, William Worthington Fowler, Woman on the American Frontier, p. 99:
      • She was par excellence the vigilant member of the house-hold.

Usage notes[edit]

Now frequently italicized as a self-consciously foreign expression. As an adverb, usually placed before the descriptive noun or noun phrase.

Synonyms[edit]

Adjective[edit]

par excellence (not comparable)

  1. Most excellently, variously intending
    1. Being the proper or truest example of a general name.
      • 1695 (published 1845), Earl of Perth, Letters, p. 61:
        The Santo (which is St. Antonio's church, called il Santo par excellence)...
      • 1883, "Meteora" in the Encyclopædia Britannica, 9th ed., Vol. XVI, p. 114:
        At one time they were twenty-four in number; but Holland (1812) and Hughes (1814) found them reduced to ten; at Curzon's visit (1834) there were only seven; and in 1853 not more than four of these were inhabited by more than two or three monks. Meteora par excellence is the largest and perhaps the most ancient.
    2. Being a quintessential example of a general type.
      • 1839 August, Edgar Allen Poe, Burton's Gentleman's Magazine, p. 68:
        This is the age of invention, most certainly—the age, one may say—the age par excellence.
      • 1845, Edgar Allen Poe, "The Purloined Letter" in Tales, p. 212:
        The mathematical reason has long been regarded as the reason par excellence.

Usage notes[edit]

Now frequently italicized as a self-consciously foreign expression. As an adjective, usually used as a post-modifier after the descriptive noun or noun phrase.

Synonyms[edit]

  • (truest example of a general name): See proper

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  • "par excellence, adv. and adj.", in the Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

French[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /paʁ ɛk.sɛ.lɑ̃s/

Adverb[edit]

par excellence

  1. by or in virtue of excellence