noun sur·feit \ ˈsər-fət \
|Updated on: 13 Jul 2018

Definition of surfeit

1 : an overabundant supply : excess
2 : an intemperate or immoderate indulgence in something (such as food or drink)
3 : disgust caused by excess

surfeit was our Word of the Day on 10/16/2012. Hear the podcast!

Examples of surfeit in a Sentence

  1. ended up with a surfeit of volunteers who simply got in each other's way

Recent Examples of surfeit from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of surfeit

Middle English surfet, from Anglo-French, from surfaire to overdo, from sur- + faire to do, from Latin facere — more at do




Definition of surfeit

surfeited; surfeiting; surfeits
: to feed, supply, or give to surfeit
archaic : to indulge to satiety in a gratification (such as indulgence of the appetite or senses)



Examples of surfeit in a Sentence

  1. having surfeited ourselves on raw oysters, we had to decline the rest of the restaurant's offerings

First Known Use of surfeit

14th century

in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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surfeit Synonyms


cram, glut, gorge, sate, stuff;

Near Antonyms

diet, fast;

Synonym Discussion of surfeit

satiate, sate, surfeit, cloy, pall, glut, gorge mean to fill to repletion. satiate and sate may sometimes imply only complete satisfaction but more often suggest repletion that has destroyed interest or desire.
    • years of globe-trotting had satiated their interest in travel
    • readers were sated with sensationalistic stories
surfeit implies a nauseating repletion.
    • surfeited themselves with junk food
cloy stresses the disgust or boredom resulting from such surfeiting.
    • sentimental pictures that cloy after a while
pall emphasizes the loss of ability to stimulate interest or appetite.
    • a life of leisure eventually begins to pall
glut implies excess in feeding or supplying.
    • a market glutted with diet books
gorge suggests glutting to the point of bursting or choking.
    • gorged themselves with chocolate

SURFEIT Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of surfeit for English Language Learners

  • : an amount that is too much or more than you need

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one who attends or assists a leader

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