sur·​pass sər-ˈpas How to pronounce surpass (audio)
surpassed; surpassing; surpasses

transitive verb

: to become better, greater, or stronger than : exceed
surpassed her rivals
surpassed all expectations
: to go beyond : overstep
: to transcend the reach, capacity, or powers of
a beauty that surpasses description
surpassable 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.
Recent Examples on the Web Costa Rica, Travel + Leisure’s 2024 destination of the year, is known for lush rain forests, gorgeous beaches, fascinating wildlife, and its Nicoya Peninsula Blue Zone, where many residents live long, healthy lives, surpassing average life spans. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, 10 June 2024 And did the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting surpass expectations? Allison Deangelis and Adam Feuerstein, STAT, 6 June 2024 The International Office of Migration (IOM) on Thursday announced the number of people internally displaced by conflict inside Sudan could surpass 10 million in coming days as famine looms. Emma Ogao, ABC News, 6 June 2024 With this news, the Battier Take Charge Foundation has surpassed the $3 million mark in scholarships awarded. Anthony Chiang, Miami Herald, 6 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for surpass 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'surpass.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle French surpasser, from sur- + passer to pass

First Known Use

1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of surpass was in 1555

Dictionary Entries Near surpass

Cite this Entry

“Surpass.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


sur·​pass sər-ˈpas How to pronounce surpass (audio)
: to be greater, better, or stronger than
: to go beyond the reach, powers, or capacity of
surpassable adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on surpass

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