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

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Other Words from surmount

surmountable \ sər-​ˈmau̇n-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce surmountable (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 Although Engel has not yet conceded the race, Bowman has a significant lead that election analysts say Engel is unlikely to surmount. CBS News, "Progressive newcomers shake up status quo Democrats in primaries," 29 June 2020 The bridges surmount two inlets leading to the old intake channel for cooling water used by the former FirstEnergy plant, demolished in 2017. Steven Litt, cleveland, "Cleveland Metroparks explores using recycled river sediment to make lakefront greener, more resilient," 23 June 2020 There is no chance of making people self-reliant by confronting them with problems and with trials beyond their capacity to surmount. Bruce Bartlett, The New Republic, "Conservatives Might Want to Reconsider Their Love for Winston Churchill," 22 June 2020 Segura, the school principal, is determined to help her students surmount what could be a painful autumn. Rachel Swan,, "Bay Area public schools struggling to respond to next big health crisis: hungry kids," 14 June 2020 There is a hurdle to surmount before love is free to grow., "Horoscope," 6 June 2020 The Trump administration opposed Tedros’s campaign to lead the organization but couldn’t surmount China’s sway. The Editors, National Review, "WHO Failed," 7 Apr. 2020 But, surmounting fears of the spreading coronavirus anticipate an impact on voter turnout. Elly Belle,, "Will Coronavirus Impact Today’s Primary Elections?," 10 Mar. 2020 And, with Michigan fighting to reopen against Governor Whitmer’s orders, fears surmount that the Wisconsin Supreme Court's ruling may seep into the decision-making in other locations at odds. Elly Belle,, "Wisconsin Supreme Court Overturned State Stay At Home Order. Here’s What That Means For Other States.," 14 May 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for surmount

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for surmount

Last Updated

12 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Surmount.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for surmount


How to pronounce surmount (audio)

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.

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