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

Officials predict that next year’s natural-gas production will surpass pre-war levels. The Economist, "How a victorious Bashar al-Assad is changing Syria," 28 June 2018 Well, the good news is, the shake machine’s still going and has surpassed 2,000 minutes. Kassondra Cloos, Outside Online, "Outdoor Gear Makers: Get Green or Die Trying," 13 June 2018 Leaf prices are very competitive, particularly considering its range, which easily surpasses the i3, Clarity, Ioniq, Soul, Smart and e-Golf. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Review: Electric 2018 Nissan Leaf energized by value and range," 7 June 2018 Apple was early with the Siri assistant in 2011, but Amazon and Google have caught up, and in many ways, have surpassed Apple. Dan Frommer, Recode, "What actually matters at Apple’s WWDC keynote," 4 June 2018 Marin County led the Bay Area surge with the median home price reaching a record high of $1,010,000, the first county in the state of California to surpass the million dollar mark. Kevin Kelleher, Fortune, "San Francisco's Home Prices Soared an Average of $205,000 in the Past 6 Months," 6 July 2018 When asked if Tesla surpassed that mark or not, a spokesperson for Tesla declined to comment. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Tesla lost its chief engineer just before hitting Elon Musk’s Model 3 goal," 2 July 2018 That is a record for the first half of the year, surpassing the prior high-water mark of 20 set in 2007. Dana Cimilluca, WSJ, "M&A Market Headed for a Record, Powered by Tech Disruption, AT&T Ruling," 1 July 2018 The 33-year-old singer reached the milestone after surpassing the mark of 48 million monthly listeners, overtaking Drake for the worldwide No. 1 spot. Suzette Fernandez, Billboard, "J Balvin Is the Most Streamed Artist Worldwide on Spotify, Replacing Drake," 25 June 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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Statistics for surpass

Last Updated

11 Nov 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).


a private place of worship

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