verb sur·pass \ sər-ˈpas \
|Updated on: 22 Jul 2018

Definition of surpass

surpassed; surpassing; surpasses
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


play \sər-ˈpa-sə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of surpass in a Sentence

  1. Attendance is expected to surpass last year's record.

  2. Last quarter, sales surpassed two million.

  3. His work regularly surpasses all expectations.

Recent Examples of surpass from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of surpass

Middle French surpasser, from sur- + passer to pass

Synonym Discussion of 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

SURPASS Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of surpass for English Language Learners

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

SURPASS Defined for Kids


verb sur·pass \ sər-ˈpas \

Definition of surpass for Students

surpassed; surpassing
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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to hasten

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