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 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 There can be an old hurdle to surmount before love is free to grow., "Horoscope," 15 Apr. 2020 The strong performance of a multiethnic party, Alliance for Change, in the last elections briefly raised hopes that the country finally began to surmount its colonial past. Anatoly Kurmanaev, New York Times, "Oil Bonanza Plunges Guyana Into Political Crisis," 5 Mar. 2020 The tech giants’ contribution could also help the teams surmount some technical hurdles that prevented the systems from functioning reliably during recent tests. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, "Apple, Google debut major effort to help people track whether they’ve come in contact with coronavirus," 10 Apr. 2020 Still, some of the fallout from SMA were difficult to surmount. Christina Oehler,, "This Influencer Has Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2 and It Inspired Her to Make a Size-Inclusive Clothing Line," 8 Apr. 2020 Though his brand has not surmounted India’s luxury slump, Mr. Trump remains quite popular here, with many Indians seeing him as tough on terrorism, pro-business and a crucial ally for Mr. Modi, another outspoken populist. New York Times, "As India’s Economy Sags, Even the Trump Brand Is Struggling," 23 Feb. 2020 His recent success suggests that that barrier can be surmounted. The Economist, "The Oscars “Parasite” becomes the first foreign-language film to win Best Picture," 10 Feb. 2020 Ironically, corporations – those singular products of capitalism – are showing how these and other problems of socialist planning can be surmounted. Paul Adler, The Conversation, "Sanders called JPMorgan’s CEO America’s ‘biggest corporate socialist’ – here’s why he has a point," 6 Feb. 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

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Surmount.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 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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