\ˈsərj \
surged; surging

Definition of surge 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to rise and fall actively : toss a ship surging in heavy seas

2 : to rise and move in waves or billows : swell the sea was surging

3 : to slip around a windlass, capstan, or bitts used especially of a rope

4 : to rise suddenly to an excessive or abnormal value the stock market surged to a record high

5 : to move with a surge or in surges felt the blood surging into his face— Harry Hervey she surged past the other runners

transitive verb

: to let go or slacken gradually surge a rope



Definition of surge (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a swelling, rolling, or sweeping forward like that of a wave or series of waves a surge of interest

2a : a large wave or billow : swell

b(1) : a series of such swells or billows

(2) : the resulting elevation of water level

3a : a movement (such as a slipping or slackening) of a rope or cable

b : a sudden jerk or strain caused by such a movement

4 : a transient sudden rise of current or voltage in an electrical circuit

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for surge

Synonyms: Noun

billow, swell, wave

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of surge in a Sentence


We all surged toward the door. She surged past the other runners. Thoughts of what could happen were surging through his mind. Housing prices have surged in recent months. Interest in the sport has been surging.


The sport is enjoying a surge in popularity. a surge of support for the candidate There was a sudden surge toward the door. There has been a surge of immigrants into the city.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Though Democrats surged to the polls across the country, at least 56 of the 60 lowest-turnout House districts will be represented by Democrats when the new Congress is seated in January. Reid J. Epstein, WSJ, "Nonvoters in Midterms More Likely to Be Younger and Less Wealthy Than Those Who Voted," 22 Nov. 2018 In addition to the hurricane-strength winds blowing ashore Friday, Florence has the potential to bring a storm surge upwards of 6 feet in parts of the coastline including up to 13 feet from Cape Fear north to Cape Lookout. Nicole Darrah, Fox News, "Hurricane Florence weakens to Cat 2 storm but storm surge expected to hit 'catastrophic levels'," 13 Sep. 2018 As the town gears up for the summer season, when the population surges from 15,700 year-round residents to more than 30,000 on a busy weekend, both locals and visitors expressed ambivalence about the looming tower. Nick Corasaniti, New York Times, "A Bet That Luxury Can Be a Part of Asbury Park’s Comeback Story," 1 June 2018 On Thursday, Nvidia reported fiscal third-quarter 2019 profit that surged 47%, while revenue rose 21%. Sarah E. Needleman, WSJ, "Nvidia Grapples With Cryptocurrency Miners’ Exit," 16 Nov. 2018 At the same time, some other nations have drawn surging numbers of students from abroad. Collin Binkley, The Seattle Times, "US colleges attracting fewer new students from abroad," 13 Nov. 2018 The latest analysis from CoreLogic, which was released at 1:25 ET today, predicts a total of $2 to$4.5 billion in damages to residential and commercial property, including wind and storm surge. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Hurricane Michael: Real estate experts anticipate billions in storm damage," 10 Oct. 2018 All six outlets protect against power surges but only four tap into the UPS battery. Ian Paul, PCWorld, "Protect against outages with this $35, six outlet uninterruptible power supply," 9 Oct. 2018 But categories measure windspeed, not the rain, flooding, or surges that are often the deadliest aspects of hurricanes. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Don’t Forget About the Victims of Hurricane Florence," 18 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Over the ensuing nine months, MoviePass has changed its service drastically, most notably by introducing surge pricing and ticket verification, altering both the price of its subscription and the number of movies members can see per month. Nick Statt, The Verge, "MoviePass refunds annual subscribers as it further restricts member benefits," 24 Aug. 2018 And by reducing overall costs for riders, could help low-income users utilize the service without the unpredictability of surge pricing. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Lyft’s Personal Plan wants to entice riders with fixed rates on frequent trips," 31 July 2018 If Liberal support collapses, the NDP should see a surge -- Abacus found that 79 percent of Liberal supporters would prefer an NDP win to a PC win. Josh Wingrove,, "Favored in Ontario’s Election: A Trump-Like Populist Dangling Tax Cuts," 7 June 2018 But its surge pricing, where rates can balloon more than three times the baseline in event of a situation like a snowstorm, acts as a de facto encouragement since demand often increases in bad weather., "How incentives in the gig economy put workers at risk," 31 May 2018 For the first time since the Milwaukee Brewers began their incredible late-season surge, their bats went cold enough to lose. Greg Beacham, The Seattle Times, "Power outage: Brewers’ bats struggle in 13-inning loss," 17 Oct. 2018 But try to leave room for at least one more especially sweet color that's seeing a surge on Instagram: red velvet. Marci Robin, Allure, "Red Velvet Is the Indulgent New Hair-Color Trend for Fall," 13 Oct. 2018 Hurricane Michael is intensifying and is set to strike the Florida Panhandle as a Cat 3 hurricane with dangerous, potentially catastrophic storm surge, destructive winds and flooding rain. Janice Dean, Fox News, "Hurricane Michael intensifying; set to strike Florida as a Cat 3 storm," 9 Oct. 2018 But that’s when nearly 130 Right Trolls, which posed as Trump supporters, had their big surge, their output rising to more than 10,000 tweets a day until suddenly dropping away after Aug. 18 — presumably when Twitter banned many of the accounts. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Why Facebook banned Alex Jones — and Twitter didn’t," 11 Aug. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of surge


1511, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1520, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for surge


earlier, to ride (at anchor) probably in part from Middle French sourgir to cast anchor, land, from Catalan surgir to heave, cast anchor, from Latin surgere to rise, spring up; from sub- up + regere to lead straight; in part from Latin surgere — more at sub-, right

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about surge

Dictionary Entries near surge

surf whiting




surge chamber

surge gap


Statistics for surge

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for surge

The first known use of surge was in 1511

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for surge



English Language Learners Definition of surge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to move very quickly and suddenly in a particular direction

: to suddenly increase to an unusually high level



English Language Learners Definition of surge (Entry 2 of 2)

: a sudden, large increase

: a sudden movement of many people

: a large wave of water


\ˈsərj \
surged; surging

Kids Definition of surge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to rise suddenly and greatly Prices have surged recently.

2 : to move suddenly and quickly in a particular direction Crowds were surging through the streets.



Kids Definition of surge (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a rush like that of a wave She felt a surge of anger.

2 : a large wave surges of water

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on surge

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with surge

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for surge

Spanish Central: Translation of surge

Nglish: Translation of surge for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of surge for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about surge

Comments on surge

What made you want to look up surge? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!