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 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 Some small organizations are able to surmount such obstacles. Anne Midgette,, "People are upset when an orchestra closes - if only they went to the concerts," 20 July 2019 Some small organizations are able to surmount such obstacles. Washington Post, "People are upset when an orchestra closes. If only they went to the concerts.," 20 July 2019 The all-male teams greatly outperformed the integrated teams, whether on shooting, surmounting obstacles or evacuating casualties. Heather Mac Donald, WSJ, "Women Don’t Belong in Combat Units," 13 Jan. 2019 One New York couple which has surmounted these obstacles is Rafael Feldman, an actor-producer-director, and Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin, a recording artist and the founder of SohoMuse, a networking platform for creative professionals. Ben Widdicombe, Town & Country, "Does Succession Get Tom and Shiv's Relationship Right? A Vanderbilt Says Yes.," 11 Aug. 2019 But mistrust in vaccines, militia attacks on health workers and limited health care resources are among the many obstacles health officials need to surmount to fight the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak on record. Bethlehem Feleke And Stephanie Busari, CNN, "Nine-year-old girl tests positive for Ebola in Uganda," 30 Aug. 2019 With the welfare of Mrs. Bayer and her children in mind, friends of the dead officer met yesterday to discuss ways and means of assisting the widow to surmount the situation that confronts her. Scott Harrison, Los Angeles Times, "From the Archives: Oscar Bayer, 1925 shootout hero," 21 Aug. 2019 Aging has a set of obstacles all its own that need to be surmounted and prevailing over them can require as much inner fortitude as those encountered much earlier in life. Houston Chronicle, "Life takes courage: You don’t have to do it alone," 16 Aug. 2019 Get our daily newsletter Mr Shan, however, had already surmounted more than most. The Economist, "How a victim of the Cultural Revolution mastered economics," 4 July 2019

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

11 Oct 2019

Cite this Entry

“Surmount.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on surmount

What made you want to look up surmount? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


strength of mind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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