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

Farak tested as many as 11,000 samples from Boston-area cases, which were handled by the Hinton lab, regularly surpassing Dookhan’s numbers, according to state records and interviews with lawyers representing drug lab defendants., "State investigation of Hinton drug lab didn’t include work of chemist later convicted of stealing evidence at another lab - The Boston Globe," 16 Sep. 2019 District of Columbia Washington: The nation’s capital has hit or surpassed the 90-degree temperature mark a total of 54 days so far this year through Wednesday, WUSA-TV reports. USA TODAY, "Disney surprise, foreign feral hogs, porous pavement: News from around our 50 states," 13 Sep. 2019 Washington has now recorded 55 days this year with the temperature reaching or surpassing 90 degrees. Washington Post, "Local Digest: D.C.’s second-hottest day recorded on Thursday at 98 degrees," 13 Sep. 2019 The secretary has been talking for the past two years about the possibility of expanding Treasury's long-term borrowing capabilities, surpassing the horizon of the 30-year bond. Donna Borak, CNN, "US Treasury is seriously considering a 50-year bond," 12 Sep. 2019 Perhaps a certain number nine to come in and, in four short years, surpass the goalscoring feats of every one of his countrymen who had come to the league before him., "Roberto Firmino: How Liverpool's 50-Goal Star Has Helped Inspire a New Generation of Brazilians," 9 Sep. 2019 The Badgers hit or surpassed the 60-point mark for the 11th time in program history. Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "UW's Quintez Cephus celebrates his return to Camp Randall Stadium with two touchdowns," 7 Sep. 2019 Wide receiver Clyde Bellow had himself another spectacular game, even surpassing last week’s efforts. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "For second straight year, Deer Park turns big Creek lead into come-from-behind win," 7 Sep. 2019 Running backs Avarius Sparrow of Jones and Travis Lesko of Lake Brantley are the Week 1 recipients as each surpassed 200 yards and scored three touchdowns on Aug. 23. J.c. Carnahan,, "Orlando TD Club returns to recognize high school football players of the week," 7 Sep. 2019

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







sur place

Statistics for surpass

Last Updated

14 Oct 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

What made you want to look up surpass? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a topic to which one constantly reverts

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