sur·​mount | \ sər-ˈmau̇nt How to pronounce surmount (audio) \
surmounted; surmounting; surmounts

Definition of surmount

transitive verb

1 : to prevail over : overcome surmount an obstacle
2 : to get to the top of : climb
3 : to stand or lie at the top of
4 obsolete : to surpass in quality or attainment : excel

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from surmount

surmountable \ sər-​ˈmau̇n-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce surmount (audio) \ adjective

Did You Know?

Our verb mount, meaning "ascend, get up onto", comes from the same Latin root as mountain, and we keep those images in mind when using surmount, since climbing up or over a mountain is a symbol of achievement. The word almost always refers to human effort, and almost always in a positive way; thus, we speak of surmounting difficulties, surmounting problems, surmounting hurdles, surmounting handicaps—you get the idea.

Examples of surmount in a Sentence

an Olympic swimmer who surmounted endless obstacles to achieve her goals
Recent Examples on the Web That desire wasn’t sufficient to surmount impasses each of the last two offseasons, which led to Prescott playing out the final year of his rookie contract in 2019 and then signing a $31.4 million franchise tag in 2020. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, 4 Feb. 2021 But the Oshkosh-Hanwha alliance is the most unusual combination in the search, and its offering is highly likely to surmount hurdles leading to the final down-select. Loren Thompson, Forbes, 4 May 2021 Unable or unwilling to surmount this disagreement, the collective essentially disbanded. Ryann Liebenthal, The New Republic, 19 Apr. 2021 The White House still holds out the possibility that part of the economic plan -- the part financing physical infrastructure such as roads and bridges -- can attract enough Republicans to surmount a filibuster by the rest. John Harwood, CNN, 25 Apr. 2021 Biden and his allies can, of course, point to considerable obstacles that Roosevelt didn’t need to surmount, such as the Democratic Party’s slimmer margins and the fact that the president does not literally control Congress. Eleanor Eagan, The New Republic, 29 Apr. 2021 Indeed, because Lissa had been raised Episcopalian and was quite involved in the church during her youth, there wasn’t the typical learning curve to surmount when Alyse discussed her job. Washington Post, 8 Apr. 2021 Still, if the cells were taken from an animal that had already been killed in a kosher way, that would likely surmount that first hurdle. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, 7 Apr. 2021 Of course, dozens of other states — along with Congress — have been able to surmount those barriers., 7 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'surmount.' 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 surmount

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for surmount

Middle English, from Anglo-French surmunter, from sur- + munter to mount

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about surmount

Time Traveler for surmount

Time Traveler

The first known use of surmount was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for surmount

Last Updated

7 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Surmount.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for surmount



English Language Learners Definition of surmount

: to deal with (a problem or a difficult situation) successfully
: to be placed at the top of (something)


sur·​mount | \ sər-ˈmau̇nt How to pronounce surmount (audio) \
surmounted; surmounting

Kids Definition of surmount

1 : overcome sense 1 He'll have to surmount difficulties to win.
2 : to get to the top of
3 : to be at the top of A castle surmounts the cliff.


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Dog Breeds

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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