sur·pass | \ sər-ˈpas \
surpassed; surpassing; surpasses

Definition of surpass 

transitive verb

1 : to become better, greater, or stronger than : exceed surpassed her rivals surpassed all expectations

2 : to go beyond : overstep

3 : to transcend the reach, capacity, or powers of a beauty that surpasses description

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Other words from surpass

surpassable \sər-ˈpa-sə-bəl \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for surpass

exceed, surpass, transcend, excel, outdo, outstrip mean to go or be beyond a stated or implied limit, measure, or degree. exceed implies going beyond a limit set by authority or established by custom or by prior achievement. exceed the speed limit surpass suggests superiority in quality, merit, or skill. the book surpassed our expectations transcend implies a rising or extending notably above or beyond ordinary limits. transcended the values of their culture excel implies preeminence in achievement or quality and may suggest superiority to all others. excels in mathematics outdo applies to a bettering or exceeding what has been done before. outdid herself this time outstrip suggests surpassing in a race or competition. outstripped other firms in sales

Examples of surpass in a Sentence

Attendance is expected to surpass last year's record. Last quarter, sales surpassed two million. His work regularly surpasses all expectations.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Isaac surpassed those expectations during his three summer league appearances here. Josh Robbins,, "Jonathan Isaac, Mo Bamba gave Magic hope at summer league," 14 July 2018 The damage surpassed $306 billion, far beyond the previous U.S. annual record cost of $214 billion. Jason Pohl, azcentral, "Fires, floods, hurricanes: Disaster experts weigh ‘new normal’," 14 July 2018 The match surpassed the previous record set by another five-setter between Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro in a 2013 semifinal. Paulina Dedaj, Fox News, "John Isner loses to eight seed in longest semifinal match at Wimbledon," 13 July 2018 The compensatory damages awarded by the jury in Missouri state trial court Thursday surpassed the $417 million given by jurors in Los Angeles last year, though that trial involved just a single plaintiff. Sara Randazzo, WSJ, "J&J Hit With $4.7 Billion Jury Verdict in Baby Powder Suit," 12 July 2018 Weekly on-demand audio streams surpassed one billion for the first time, during the week ending March 1 and peaked at 1.2 billion during the week ending June 28. Karen Bliss, Billboard, "Drake Cleans Up & Streaming Continues to Grow in Nielsen Music Canada's Mid-Year 2018 Report," 12 July 2018 In late vote-counting by the registrar, Montgomery surpassed Cole to take first place in the District 4 primary by six votes. David Garrick,, "Candidate won't seek recount in battle for slot in San Diego council runoff," 10 July 2018 In just three days the fundraising appeal surpassed its goal of raking in $15,000, by a long shot. CBS News, "Suspects sought in beating of 92-year-old man on sidewalk," 10 July 2018 Newgarden also surpassed Rossi and Hunter-Reay, who finished 10th and 19th. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "IndyCar: James Hinchcliffe takes rocket ship to winner's circle at Iowa," 8 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'surpass.' 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 surpass

1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for surpass

Middle French surpasser, from sur- + passer to pass

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Dictionary Entries near surpass







sur place

Statistics for surpass

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for surpass

The first known use of surpass was in 1555

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More Definitions for surpass



English Language Learners Definition of surpass

: to be better or greater than (someone or something)


sur·pass | \ sər-ˈpas \
surpassed; surpassing

Kids Definition of surpass

1 : to be greater, better, or stronger than : exceed “You will find that the conditions at a fair will surpass your wildest dreams.” —E. B. White, Charlotte's Web

2 : to go beyond the reach or powers of The task surpassed their strength.

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Comments on surpass

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


occurring twice a year or every two years

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