• To fervently acclaim or laud someone or something


There's nothing wrong with wanting a little recognition every once and while. We've all accomplished something fantastic (if we do say so ourselves) like earning that once-in-a-lifetime promotion or publishing our first news story. Even as we spend a little extra time getting ready in the morning, we love it when someone extols our expert fashion sense or makeup technique. Whether we are being celebrated, or praising someone else's success, to extol someone is to give them the credit they deserve for all their hard work, as well as the confidence to continue doing things that are worthy of applause!

To extol someone or something means to commend or laud them to a high degree. Sometimes we like to make much of someone when they accomplish something magnificent, while at other times we might feel compelled to celebrate them simply for their innate excellence. When a coworker goes above and beyond, sacrificing her nights to finish a big project, hopefully her boss would be the first to extol her excellent work ethic. Usually, the word extol is saved for those people, actions, or ideas that are so amazing that they practically require celebration. It's not just a coincidence that extol is often heard within a house of worship: what better word to praise a higher power that runs the universe? Of course, something doesn't have to be omnipotent for you to praise it. If you really enjoy your mom's Thanksgiving stuffing, be sure to extol her cooking abilities (and her choice to add extra butter)!

Extol shares a common sentiment with words like laud, glorify, and magnify, but the key difference between extol and these similar terms has to do with how you are admiring, praising, or lifting someone or something up. One would use extol over these close synonyms when praising something zealously or enthusiastically.

Example: We constantly extol the team for their unbeatable record.

Example: The churchgoers extol their God for his awesome wonders.


The word extol can be traced back directly to the Latin extollere, translated as "to raise up" or "to lift up." Originally used in the context of erecting structures such as buildings (circa 1400), extol has expanded its reach to include the figurative "bringing up" of people, things, and ideas. Now, those of us who are not construction workers can feel what it's like to "raise" something upwards, even if it is just in our minds.

Derivative Words

Extols: This verb is the third-person plural form of extol. It is used when subjects he, she, or it are committing acts of praise.

Example: The father extols his daughter's dancing at her recitals.

Extolled: This verb is used when one extols in the past tense.

Example: She extolled her children for their help during dinner.

Extolling: This verb is the present progressive, or gerund form, of extol. It is used when the action is happening at the current time or is continually occurring.

Example: While she was extolling her teammate for his excellent ideas, he couldn't help grinning from ear to ear.

Example: You can console someone by extolling their past success!

Extollingly: This adverb is used when something is done in an extolling or approving fashion.

Example: The priest extollingly sang to God for his constant blessings and provision.

Extolment: This noun refers to the idea or expression of admiration.

Example: Aunt Marie's extolment of our interior decorating was music to our mother's ears.

Self-Extolled: This adjective is used when describing someone who thinks highly of himself or herself.

Example: The self-extolled scientist had trouble accepting criticism.

Extoller: This noun denotes an individual who is engaging in the act of extolling.

Example: The cheerleading squad acts as the football team's extoller.

In Literature

From Dante Alighieri's Purgatorio (Canto XI):

O THOU Almighty Father! Who dost make
The heavens Thy dwelling, not in bounds confined,
But that, with love intenser, there Thou view'st
Thy primal effluence; hallow'd be thy name:
Join, each created being, to extol
Thy might; for worthy humblest thanks and praise
Is Thy blest Spirit.

The poet Virgil hears the spirits in Purgatory praising God for his incomparable attributes. In their worship, they call for all of creation to join them to extol the power and glory of God as they continue onward to heaven.

In Pop Culture

From The Washington Post's "On the red carpet for Eddie Murphy's Mark Twain Award, comics riff on that leather suit"

Still, before the show began, as the A-list crew of comics enlisted to pay homage to Murphy made its way across the red carpet's phalanx of reporters and cameras, the suit was there in spirit, with his pals taking turns riffing on it. They were, it seemed, warming up for the scripted program in which they would extol the comedy legend's gifts — and first, they had to get in a bit of requisite roasting.

Reporters comment that before Eddie Murphy came on stage to receive the Mark Twain Award, his infamous red leather coat was the butt of several jokes. Comedians took turns blasting the tacky fashion statement before extolling Murphy for his excellence in humor.


  • Extolling a friend can warm his soul.
  • Great rock n' roll deserves to be extolled!


Recognition, Worship

Bring out the linguist in you! What is your own interpretation of extol. Did you use extol in a game? Provide an example sentence or a literary quote.