sur·​pass | \ sər-ˈpas How to pronounce surpass (audio) \
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 How to pronounce surpassable (audio) \ 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

Natural gas would grow by 1.7% a year, surpassing coal as the world’s second largest source of global energy and rivaling oil for the top spot by the end of the outlook period. Christopher Alessi, WSJ, "BP: Renewables and Natural Gas to Dominate Energy Growth," 14 Feb. 2019 Four men were killed and 23 people were wounded in city shootings this weekend as the city surpassed 1,400 shootings so far this year. Madeline Buckley,, "Chicago weekend toll: 4 dead, 23 wounded," 9 July 2018 The combined company would have nearly 3 million barrels of refining capacity, easily surpassing Valero. Rye Druzin, Houston Chronicle, "New refiner report puts four Texas companies in top 5," 27 June 2018 The Tahoe Neighborhoods Group, which backed the measure, submitted 1,636 signatures to the South Lake Tahoe City Clerk’s office for review on April 30, surpassing the 1,036 petition signatures required for the citizens initiative to qualify. Julia Sclafani, sacbee, "Tahoe voters to decide on measure to cut number of vacation rentals," 21 June 2018 Though many creatures have suffered the shift, the raccoon seems to be adapting—even surpassing its rural cousins in cunning. National Geographic, "5 Surprising Raccoon Superpowers," 13 June 2018 The report from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services projects that U.S. health care spending will surpass $5.9 trillion in 2027. Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar, The Seattle Times, "Government headed for close to half of nation’s health tab," 20 Feb. 2019 The rental fees can surpass the retail cost of the machine, patients and doctors say. Marshall Allen, Ars Technica, "You snooze, you lose: Insurers make the old adage literally true," 21 Nov. 2018 Last year, Kentucky's overall spirits production — mostly bourbon — surpassed 1.7 million barrels for just the second time since 1968, an increase of 129,000 barrels from 2016, the Kentucky Distillers' Association said. Bruce Schreiner, Fox News, "Kentucky bourbon inventory at highest level since 1972," 27 Sep. 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







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Statistics for surpass

Last Updated

18 Mar 2019

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 How to pronounce surpass (audio) \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on surpass

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with surpass

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for surpass

Spanish Central: Translation of surpass

Nglish: Translation of surpass for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of surpass for Arabic Speakers

Comments on surpass

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the range of authority or knowledge

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