All Words > Excursus

Saturday, November 20

Excursus

[eks-KUR-səs]

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Latin, early 19th century

1.

A detailed discussion of a particular point in a book, usually in an appendix.

2.

A digression in a written text.

Examples of Excursus in a sentence

"The footnotes had a thorough excursus on the topic."

"The excursus in the appendix detailed the experiments."

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About Excursus

This word stems from the Latin “excurrere,” meaning “run out.”

Did you Know?

Even though an excursus is usually found in modern nonfiction, it used to have other purposes. In literature from centuries ago, an excursus might have nothing to do with the topics being discussed in the main work; rather, it was used to lighten the atmosphere in a tragic story. In the Middle Ages, it was a favored rhetorical device that allowed the narrator to comment or suspend the action for the audience to reflect on what is going on in the story.

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