AskDefine | Define excess

Dictionary Definition

excess adj : more than is needed, desired, or required; "trying to lose excess weight"; "found some extra change lying on the dresser"; "yet another book on heraldry might be thought redundant"; "skills made redundant by technological advance"; "sleeping in the spare room"; "supernumerary ornamentation"; "it was supererogatory of her to gloat"; "delete superfluous (or unnecessary) words"; "extra ribs as well as other supernumerary internal parts"; "surplus cheese distributed to the needy" [syn: extra, redundant, spare, supererogatory, superfluous, supernumerary, surplus]


1 a quantity much larger than is needed [syn: surplus, surplusage, nimiety]
2 immoderation as a consequence of going beyond sufficient or permitted limits [syn: excessiveness, inordinateness]
3 the state of being more than full [syn: surfeit, overabundance]
4 excessive indulgence; "the child was spoiled by overindulgence" [syn: overindulgence]

User Contributed Dictionary



Old English exces, excess, ecstasy; Latin excessus a going out, loss of self-possession, from excedere, excessum, to go out, go beyond. See Exceed.


  1. The degree or amount by which one thing or number exceeds another; remainder; as, the difference between two numbers is the excess of one over the other.
  2. The state of surpassing or going beyond limits; the being of a measure beyond sufficiency, necessity, or duty; that which exceeds what is usual or proper; immoderateness; superfluity; superabundance; extravagance; as, an excess of provisions or of light.
    • To gild refined gold, to paint the lily, To throw a perfume on the violet, ... Is wasteful and ridiculous excess. - Shakespeare
    • That kills me with excess of grief, this with excess of joy. - Walsh
  3. An undue indulgence of the appetite; transgression of proper moderation in natural gratifications; intemperance; dissipation.
    • Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess. Ephesians v. 18
    • Thy desire ... leads to no excess That reaches blame. - Milton
  4. Spherical excess, the amount by which the sum of the three angles of a spherical triangle exceeds two right angles. The spherical excess is proportional to the area of the triangle.
  5. A condition on an insurance policy by which the insured pays for the first part of any claim, in exchange for a lower premium.


The degree by which one thing exceeds another
The state of surpassing limits
An undue indulgence of the appetite
(geometry) Spherical excess

See also

Extensive Definition

Excess is a state of something being present beyond a requisite amount. In certain contexts, it has a more specialized meaning:

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Saturnalia, aggrandizement, amplification, ballyhoo, big talk, blowing up, burlesque, caricature, crapulence, crapulency, crapulousness, de trop, debauchery, dilatation, dilation, disentitlement, dispensable, dissipation, dissoluteness, drunkenness, empty claim, empty title, enhancement, enlargement, exaggerating, exaggeration, excessive, excessiveness, exorbitance, exorbitancy, expansion, expendable, expletive, extortionateness, extra, extravagance, extreme, false claim, fat, glut, gluttony, grandiloquence, gratuitous, heightening, huckstering, hyperbole, hyperbolism, immoderacy, immoderateness, immoderation, impropriety, in excess, inappropriateness, incontinence, indiscipline, indulgence, inflation, inordinacy, inordinateness, intemperance, intemperateness, inundation, invalid claim, lack of claim, leftover, leftovers, magnification, needless, nimiety, no claim, nonessential, outrageousness, overabundance, overage, overbalance, overdoing, overemphasis, overestimation, overflow, overflowing, overgrowth, overindulgence, overkill, overmeasure, overmuch, overpass, overplus, overproduction, overrun, overrunning, overspill, overspreading, overstatement, overstock, oversupply, pleonastic, plethora, plus, preposterousness, prodigality, profuseness, profusion, prolix, puffery, puffing up, redundancy, redundant, remaining, residual, self-indulgence, self-restraint, sensationalism, spare, stretching, superabundance, supererogation, supererogatory, superfluity, superfluous, superiority, superlative, supernumerary, surfeit, surplus, surplusage, swinishness, tall talk, tautologic, tautologous, to spare, too much, too-muchness, touting, travesty, uncalled-for, unconscionableness, unconstraint, uncontrol, undeservedness, undeservingness, undueness, unentitledness, unessential, unmeritedness, unnecessary, unneeded, unreasonableness, unrestraint, verbose
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