\ ˈsərj How to pronounce surge (audio) \
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

The sector has been rising as oil prices have surged about 40% so far this year, sending energy company revenues higher and giving them more funds for investment. Alex Veiga, The Seattle Times, "S&P 500 notches 3rd straight weekly gain as US stocks rally," 14 Apr. 2019 On Wednesday, the cost of borrowing Turkish liras outside of Turkey using foreign currency as collateral surged. Jon Sindreu, WSJ, "Turkey’s Heavy-Handed Crackdown on Currency Speculators," 27 Mar. 2019 Indeed, all but one IPO since the start of 2018 has surged by 44% in the first day—the maximum allowed. Jacky Wong, WSJ, "Irrational Exuberance Endangers China’s Nasdaq," 3 Apr. 2019 That effect will be even more pronounced in poorer countries like China, where meat consumption is clearly constrained by income and has been surging in recent years as the country gets richer. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The best thing you can do to stop climate change is to vote against Republicans," 27 Nov. 2018 Thermal activity has been surging recently in Yellowstone's Geyser Hill, and Ear Spring's September eruption was its biggest in over 60 years, according to Live Science. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Heavily Littered Yellowstone Geyser Spews Tons of Trash Into Air During Eruption," 5 Oct. 2018 Demand for mental-health services on college campuses has surged in recent years and, as local campuses understand all too well, suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students. Aubrey Nagle,, "Local Dems oppose SCOTUS pick, school board hosts first public meeting | Morning Newsletter," 10 July 2018 President Trump now faces the same dilemma that President Barack Obama’s administration confronted when Central American migrants began surging across the southwest border in 2014. New York Times, "Judge Rejects Long Detentions of Migrant Families, Dealing Trump Another Setback," 9 July 2018 More: Census: Population tops 300K again in Cincinnati, surges in most suburbs Among the cities where people are leaving in droves are places such as Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, New York, and Los Angeles. The Enquirer,, "3 in Ohio among US cities Americans are abandoning," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Keyes said in a phone interview. Winter storm surge flooding is the latest indication that something’s off-kilter around the Bering Strait, the gateway from the Pacific Ocean to the Arctic Ocean. Dan Joling, The Seattle Times, "Pace of Bering Sea changes startles scientists," 16 Apr. 2019 This Florence—a Category 2 hurricane barreling toward Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Virginia, expected to dump nearly 3 feet of rain along the coast and bring on a 13-foot storm surge—is a markedly bad thing. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "More Than 1,400 Flights Already Canceled Ahead of Hurricane Florence," 13 Sep. 2018 Furniture carried away by Hurricane Irma's storm surge is strewn next to the road in Cudjoe Key on Sept. 15, 2017, two days after the storm. Jim Defede, miamiherald, "'Millions of dollars of wasteful spending.' A look at Gov. Scott's post-Irma debris deals," 29 June 2018 Featured will be Texas storm-surge expert Hal Needham and several locals who survived Harvey. Cary Darling, Houston Chronicle, "'Rise of the Superstorms' looks back at Hurricane Harvey and the devastating 2017 summer," 20 June 2018 Tropical storm warnings were in effect from Anclote River, near Tampa, to the Alabama-Mississippi border, while officials warned that a powerful storm surge could swamp much of Florida's Gulf Coast. Tim Stelloh /, NBC News, "Storms swamp Memorial Day revelers from Florida to Maryland," 28 May 2018 Like Wright Brothers, a Category 2 storm surge would flood pretty much all of Everglades National Park. Jake Bullinger, Outside Online, "NPS Report—Gasp!—Acknowledges Climate Change," 25 May 2018 His house was destroyed during a storm surge in August and his family was brought in October to the temporary settlement, a mix of small concrete houses and tents known as the Khar Yalla camp, in an empty field far from downtown. Aurelien Breeden, New York Times, "‘Wrath of Coastal Erosion’ Is Devouring a Senegal Fishing Hub," 23 May 2018 From Amazon buying Whole Foods to the surge in online delivery platforms to the fact that no one actually has time to cook, the do-it-yourself meal-kit concept is hurting. Laura Forman, WSJ, "Cliff Diving at Blue Apron," 6 Apr. 2019

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

10 May 2019

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 How to pronounce surge (audio) \
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).


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Dictionary Devil

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!