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

Nonetheless, all of these issues could potentially be surmounted with the large payload capacity of Starship. Ben Pearson, Ars Technica, "SpaceX beginning to tackle some of the big challenges for a Mars journey," 3 June 2019 Many drink makers are able to surmount these hurdles and secure funding. Patrick Mcgroarty, WSJ, "Dull Skin? Restless Sleep? There’s a Drink for That," 28 Aug. 2018 O’Rourke has become an increasingly polarizing figure in the polls and has never been able to surmount Cruz’s lead. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Texas Senate election results: Beto O’Rourke vs. Ted Cruz," 7 Nov. 2018 The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx is the chip the company hopes will scale the performance mountain, reaching the heights that competing Intel Core chips have already surmounted. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Hands on: Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8cx reference laptop is a fresh attempt to be faster," 7 Dec. 2018 Of course, collective bargaining, statutory and constitutional obstacles to such reform must be surmounted, but without such changes our public-pension woes will likely worsen. WSJ, "Intergenerational Equity on Pensions Is Hard," 14 Sep. 2018 With a diameter of 54 miles (87 kilometers), Aristoteles has a complex border surmounted by peaks that rise nearly 11,000 feet (3,350 meters) above the crater floor. Miguel Claro,, "See the Moon in All Its Cratered, Groovy Glory (Photo)," 25 July 2018 But the immediate hill to surmount was singing opposite a character named Calogero, played by Adam Kaplan, and based on a younger version of himself. New York Times, "Chazz Palminteri Is Singing. Sonny Would Tell You to Listen.," 25 May 2018 While living in South Africa, Stebin Horne, the founder of this Georgia company, designed an ingenious wood-burner ($499) consisting of a countertop-high metal fire pit surmounted by a vertical pole on which swivel a series of grates and planchas. Steven Raichlen, New York Times, "Cooking Over Wood: A Guide to the Grills," 29 June 2018

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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Statistics for surmount

Last Updated

7 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for surmount

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

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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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on surmount

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with surmount

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for surmount

Spanish Central: Translation of surmount

Nglish: Translation of surmount for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of surmount for Arabic Speakers

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showing courage and determination

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