\ ˈsərf How to pronounce surf (audio) \

Definition of surf

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the swell of the sea that breaks upon the shore
2 : the foam, splash, and sound of breaking waves


surfed; surfing; surfs

Definition of surf (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to ride the surf (as on a surfboard)
2 : to scan a wide range of offerings for something of interest

transitive verb

: to scan the offerings of (such as television or the Internet) for something of interest

Other Words from surf


surfer noun

Synonyms for surf

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of surf in a Sentence

Noun We could hear the roar of the surf. beachgoers romping in the swirling surf Verb He learned to surf when he was living in California.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Between Pacifica and Montara on the western flank of the continent, Devil’s Slide is archetypal California, a beautiful stretch of coastline with stark, rocky cliffs descending into deep blue surf. Vanessa Arredondo, San Francisco Chronicle, 30 June 2022 The surf is expected to be in the 1-foot to 3-foot range for most of the county into the holiday weekend. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 June 2022 Relatively warm waters and light surf make this location ideal for swimming. Brittany Bowker,, 23 June 2022 In reality, a rip current often appears darker than the surrounding surf in a U-shape, including at Pensacola. Chloe Williams, The Atlantic, 20 June 2022 Visitors to Nayarit going the resort route will be hard-pressed to find accommodations that capture the region’s bohemian art and surf culture better than the W Punta de Mita. J.d. Simkins, Sunset Magazine, 20 June 2022 To reserve the private ride and surf experience, contact the Montage Los Cabos concierge at or dial +52 624 163 2000 Ext. Nina Ruggiero, Travel + Leisure, 16 June 2022 Luckily, Make or Break isn’t the only surf filmmaking out there that’s finally exhibiting some journalistic rigor. Andrew S. Lewis, Outside Online, 10 June 2022 The wave maker would use the same technology that all-time surfing great Kelly Slater designed to bring perfect surf to farm country in the Central Valley community of Lemoore, according to the Palm Springs Desert Sun. James Raineystaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 10 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb My nephews are learning to surf and can swim for hours just minutes from the house. Fox News, 11 June 2022 Santa Teresa is the perfect place to surf, do yoga, and relax. Lindsay Cohn, Travel + Leisure, 1 June 2022 Paniccia used to surf for a living, one of the few female pro surfers back in the 1970s when the surfing world was mostly a boys' club. CBS News, 22 May 2022 But many die-hard surfers want to surf, not train, and that entails more than just standing on top of a wave. Spenser Mestel, The Atlantic, 21 Apr. 2022 Unlike Maverick’s or the waves near Santa Cruz, Ocean Beach lacks deep-water channels, so there’s no way to paddle from sand to surf without a beatdown. Daniel Duane, Outside Online, 18 June 2021 Jonah Raisner learned how to surf after his father's death in 2009 because his father loved surfing. Jennifer Mcdermott,, 27 May 2022 On the fabled North Shore of Oahu, Kelea pioneered the women-only surf-and-yoga retreat some 15 years ago. Ann Abel, Outside Online, 19 May 2015 Songwriters who surf Jack Johnson, June 26 at Xfinity Theater. Christopher Arnott, Hartford Courant, 25 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'surf.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of surf


1685, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1917, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for surf


origin unknown

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Last Updated

2 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Surf.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for surf


\ ˈsərf How to pronounce surf (audio) \

Kids Definition of surf

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the waves of the sea that splash on the shore
2 : the sound, splash, and foam of breaking waves


surfed; surfing

Kids Definition of surf (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to ride the incoming waves of the sea (as on a surfboard)
2 : to scan a wide range of offerings (as on television or the Internet) for something that is interesting or fills a need

More from Merriam-Webster on surf

Nglish: Translation of surf for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of surf for Arabic Speakers


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