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 Spain became the first Western European country to surpass 500,000 total positive infections, and has a death toll of 29,594, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Fox News, "Britain could ban large social gatherings until Christmas as Europe sees rise in coronavirus cases," 9 Sep. 2020 Total government debt will surpass the U.S. economy’s size next year, the report said. Jeff Stein, Anchorage Daily News, "U.S. government debt will nearly equal size of economy for first time since World War II, CBO finds," 3 Sep. 2020 Shaw has scored 47 goals in a little more than two seasons and likely will surpass Michelle Geissler’s school-record 53 this season. Cj Peters,, "Girls soccer notes: Senior forward Maegan Shaw approaches Highland record with a little help from friends," 2 Sep. 2020 For residents who live without air conditioning in hotter areas such as Livermore, where temperatures regularly surpass 95 degrees, heat and wildfire smoke can compound existing health issues. Annie Vainshtein,, "Masks? Fans? Fresheners? Do's and don'ts of dealing with smoky air in your Bay Area home and car," 24 Aug. 2020 But with the rate of infection growing in recent weeks, experts fear India could soon surpass those countries. Emily Schmall, Star Tribune, "AP Explains: How India's fast-growing cases topped 3 million," 22 Aug. 2020 Sunday's reading in Death Valley would surpass them if verified. Claudia Harmata,, "Temperatures in Death Valley Hit Recording-Breaking 130 Degrees, the Hottest Since 1913," 17 Aug. 2020 Last year was the record for the most mass shootings in a single year, though 2020 is on track to surpass it by September if current monthly trends continue. Anna Giaritelli, Washington Examiner, "Mass shootings soar to at least 336 incidents and counting," 31 July 2020 The notion that profits will be almost 30% bigger heading into 2022 than in the great times of late 2019, and also far surpass the shares in previous frenzies, is a fantasy. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Warren Buffett’s and Milton Friedman’s favorite stock market metrics have a warning for investors right now," 29 July 2020

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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Time Traveler for surpass

Time Traveler

The first known use of surpass was in 1555

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Statistics for surpass

Last Updated

13 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Surpass.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for surpass


How to pronounce surpass (audio)

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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