Definition of surmount
- surmount an obstacle
an Olympic swimmer who surmounted endless obstacles to achieve her goals
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.
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.
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
What made you want to look up surmount? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
allowing a liquid or gas to pass through
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