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Excel vs. Accel — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on August 22, 2023
"Excel" refers to surpassing others or doing exceptionally well; "Accel" is an abbreviation for "accelerate," meaning to increase speed.
Excel vs. Accel — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Excel and Accel


Key Differences

"Excel" is a verb that signifies outstanding performance or doing something to a superior degree. In daily conversations, when someone says they "excel" in a particular subject, it means they are highly proficient or skilled in that area. On the other hand, "accel" is an informal and truncated version of the word "accelerate," which is also a verb, but it denotes an increase in speed or rate. For instance, when we press the gas pedal in a car, we "accelerate" its speed.
When discussing a student's academic performance, one might state that they "excel" in mathematics, signifying their commendable skills in the subject. In a contrasting scenario, if you are talking about a car's performance, you might mention its capability to "accel" from 0 to 60 mph, illustrating its acceleration capacity.
Furthermore, the context in which "excel" is used often pertains to skills, achievements, or qualities. It denotes superiority or distinction in a particular area. Conversely, "accel" in its abbreviated form primarily finds its usage in casual conversations or contexts that refer to the rapid increase in pace or momentum.
Another interesting point to note is the wide usage of "excel" in various professional or educational contexts, given its associations with achievement and mastery. In contrast, "accel" is more niche and specific, usually relating to contexts that deal with vehicles or systems increasing their operational speed.
While "excel" has roots that trace back to Latin, signifying "to rise" or "to be eminent," the term "accel" as an abbreviation stands as a modern-day construct, a shorthand of a longer term that has evolved with contemporary language practices.

Comparison Chart


To surpass in performance
To increase in speed

Use Case

Skills, achievements, qualities
Vehicles, systems, rate of operation


From Latin "excellere"
Abbreviation of "accelerate"

Part of Speech

Verb (in context of abbreviation)

Typical Context

Educational, professional realms
Casual, technical settings

Compare with Definitions


To surpass in performance or ability.
Maria tends to excel in science subjects.


To increase the speed of.
He pressed the gas pedal to accel the car.


Be exceptionally good at or proficient in an activity or subject
She excelled at landscape painting


To hasten the progress or development of something.
The team needs to accel the project timeline.


To do or be better than others.
In the basketball match, he managed to excel despite the fierce competition.


To move faster.
As the race progressed, the runner began to accel.


To do or be better than; surpass.


(colloquial) acceleration


To achieve a level superior to average.
This software excels in user-friendliness.


To undergo rapid acceleration.
The motorcycle can accel from zero to sixty in just a few seconds.


(intransitive) To be much better than others.


To promote the quick growth or advancement.
These tactics are used to accel the company's market presence.


To show superiority; surpass others
Excels at tennis.


(music) accelerando


(transitive) To surpass someone or something; to be better or do better than someone or something.
I excelled everyone else with my exam results.


To exceed, to go beyond


To go beyond or surpass in good qualities or laudable deeds; to outdo or outgo, in a good sense.
Excelling others, these were great;Thou, greater still, must these excel.
I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.


To exceed or go beyond; to surpass.
She opened; but to shutExcelled her power; the gates wide open stood.


To surpass others in good qualities, laudable actions, or acquirements; to be distinguished by superiority; as, to excel in mathematics, or classics.
Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel.
Then peers grew proud in horsemanship t' excel.


Distinguish oneself;
She excelled in math


To show proficiency or mastery in a particular area.
She excels in her understanding of complex mathematical problems.


To stand out in a particular activity or field.
In the realm of technology, Apple continues to excel.

Common Curiosities

Does accel always refer to speed?

Mostly, "accel" is an abbreviation of "accelerate" and relates to speed, but it can also refer to rapid progress or development.

Can excel be used as a noun?

While "excel" is primarily a verb, "excellence" is its noun form representing the quality of being outstanding.

Is excel only related to academics?

No, "excel" can be used in various contexts, not just academic, to indicate proficiency or superiority.

Is there a connection between excel and Microsoft Excel?

Though both have the word "excel", Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program, while the verb "excel" denotes superiority or distinction.

How is accel pronounced?

"Accel" is pronounced as "ak-sel".

Can excel and accel be used interchangeably?

No, "excel" and "accel" have different meanings and cannot be swapped in a sentence without altering its meaning.

Can accel be used in formal writing?

Typically, "accelerate" is preferred in formal writing, while "accel" is more informal.

In what situations is accel commonly used?

"Accel" is often used in casual or technical contexts referring to vehicles, systems, or situations that increase speed.

What does excel mean?

Excel is a verb that means to surpass others in some way, often in terms of skills or achievements.

Are there any other abbreviations similar to accel?

Yes, language has many abbreviations. Like "info" for "information" or "demo" for "demonstration", "accel" is an abbreviation of "accelerate".

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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