surplus

noun
sur·​plus | \ ˈsər-(ˌ)pləs How to pronounce surplus (audio) \

Definition of surplus

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the amount that remains when use or need is satisfied
b : an excess of receipts over disbursements
2 : the excess of a corporation's net worth over the par or stated value of its stock

surplus

adjective

Definition of surplus (Entry 2 of 2)

: more than the amount that is needed : constituting a surplus surplus food/clothing/equipment When the sea captains returned, they would sell their surplus wares on the wharves.— Carol Vogel Long before the comparable worth battles of today, the economic value of women's work was evident to farm women who set prices for the surplus butter, candles, soap, honey, preserves, chickens, and eggs they raised or manufactured.— Mary Kay Blakely

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Examples of surplus in a Sentence

Noun

If there is any surplus, it will be divided equally. There is a surplus of workers and not enough jobs.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

To rein in its teetering debt, Greece has agreed with the eurozone to run a budget surplus of 3.5% of gross domestic product for many years, excluding interest payments. Nektaria Stamouli, WSJ, "Greece’s Voters Turn to Establishment Amid Europe’s Populist Wave," 27 June 2019 But Germany is the biggest exporter in Europe, and the country runs a massive current account surplus because of this -- which Trump has criticized previously. Anneken Tappe, CNN, "Trump went on a Twitter rant about European markets. Here's what it all means," 18 June 2019 The Pell Grant program is running a surplus of nearly $9 billion, according to The Associated Press. Ledyard King, USA TODAY, "NASA chief: 2024 moon landing 'off the table' if Congress doesn't approve Trump request for extra funds," 6 June 2019 Russia has run a budget surplus as a precaution against future sanctions and used its oil supply as a safeguard. Ivan Nechepurenko, New York Times, "Putin Aims to Revive the Economy With a Plan. And Pianos.," 5 June 2019 The platform includes restructuring the national debt and to tie repayments to growth, cut taxes on small businesses, and end austerity by allowing the government to run a smaller budget surplus. Felipe Ossa, Daily Intelligencer, "Yanis Varoufakis Has Some Ideas About How to Save The Future," 25 May 2018 Businesses have become more cautious due to fears that the trade dispute between the U.S. and China will escalate and result in more tariffs, or import taxes, as U.S. President Donald Trump seeks to reduce China's trade surplus with the U.S. Fox News, "After Fed turn, Europe faces stimulus question," 6 June 2019 Trump wants restitution for China’s trade surplus, China is more than willing to deal but Trump wants his restitution just so. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Can the US-China trade war be stopped? 11 experts weigh in.," 8 July 2018 Researchers studied the problem while the city tested a series of new initiatives to combat homelessness with roughly $540,000 in surplus funding sent to the cause in December. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville needs to 'tighten up' system to improve its homelessness problem, report says," 11 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Flush with surplus Army vehicles, the War Department intended to send a first-of-its-kind motorized expedition from the District of Columbia to San Francisco. al.com, "America’s military accomplished an amazing feat 100 years ago -- driving across country," 7 July 2019 Last year, surplus lines carriers sold 49,370 homeowner policies in California with $122 million in annual premiums, both up nearly 60% from 2016, according to the Surplus Line Association of California. Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, "Can California avoid a third year of fire catastrophe? Here’s what’s been fixed — and what hasn’t," 20 June 2019 Excluding jobs added via mergers, AT&T's head count declined by 23,328 even before last week's and last month's surplus announcements. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "AT&T cuts another 1,800 jobs as it finishes fiber-Internet buildout," 17 June 2019 After the war, That’s All, Brother was sold on the civilian market, along with thousands of other surplus military C-47s. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "The Return of 'That’s All, Brother': The Plane That Led the D-Day Invasion," 4 June 2019 The items thrown in the trash were likely surplus materials that no longer met state standards, Price said. Alia Malik, ExpressNews.com, "Science lab equipment mistakenly trashed at West Side middle school," 3 June 2019 More meetings are planned with the state historic preservation office and the federal General Service Administration, which is responsible for unloading surplus federal property. Scott Mcfetridge, The Seattle Times, "Huge ghost town next door clouds Iowa city’s future," 30 Mar. 2019 The prison shut down in 1963, and six years later, Alcatraz was claimed by Lakota activists under an 1868 treaty allowing Natives to appropriate surplus federal land. Delilah Friedler, Teen Vogue, "Activist LaNada War Jack of the Bannock Nation Details Her Time Occupying Alcatraz," 21 Mar. 2019 California tax revenue is volatile however, and has quickly swung from surplus to deficit during past economic downturns. Alejandro Lazo, WSJ, "California to Flex Drug Purchasing Power," 7 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'surplus.' 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 surplus

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

1589, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for surplus

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin superplus, from Latin super- + plus more — more at plus

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Statistics for surplus

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for surplus

The first known use of surplus was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for surplus

earned surplus

noun

Financial Definition of earned surplus

What It Is

Earned surplus is the sum of a company's profits, after dividend payments, since the company's inception. It can also be called retained earnings, retained capital, or accumulated earnings.

How It Works

Let's look at an example to illustrate.

Assume Company XYZ has been in business for five years, and it has reported the following annual net income:

Year 1: $10,000

Year 2: $5,000

Year 3: -$5,000

Year 4: $1,000

Year 5: -$3,000

Assuming Company XYZ paid no dividends during this time, XYZ's earned surplus is the sum of its net profits since inception: $10,000 + $5,000 - $5,000 + $1,000 - $3,000 = $8,000.

In subsequent years, XYZ's earned surplus will change by the amount of each year's net income, less dividends.

The statement of earned surplus summarizes changes in earned surplus for a fiscal period, and total earned surplus appears in the shareholders' equity portion of the balance sheet. This means that every dollar of earned surplus is essentially another dollar of shareholders' equity.

A company's board of directors may "appropriate" some or all of the company's earned surplus when it wants to restrict dividend distributions to shareholders. Appropriations are usually done at the board's discretion, although bondholders may contractually require the board to do so. Appropriations appear as a special account in the earned surplus section. When an appropriation is no longer needed, it is transferred back to earned surplus. Because earned surplus is not cash, a company may fund appropriations by setting aside cash or marketable securities for the projects indicated in the appropriation.

Why It Matters

It is important to understand that earned surplus does not represent extra cash or cash left over after the payment of dividends. Rather, earned surplus demonstrates what a company did with its profits; they are the amount of profit the company has reinvested in the business since its inception. These reinvestments are either asset purchases or liability reductions.

Earned surplus somewhat reflects a company's dividend policy, because it reflects a company's decision to either reinvest profits or pay them out to shareholders. Ultimately, most analyses of earned surplus focuses on evaluating which action generated or would generate the highest return for the shareholders.

Most of these analyses involve comparing earned surplus per share to profit per share over a specific period, or they compare the amount of capital retained to the change in share price during that time. Both of these methods attempt to measure the return management generated on the profits it plowed back into the business. Look-through earnings, a method developed by Warren Buffett that accounts for taxes, is another method in this vein.

Capital-intensive industries and growing industries tend to retain more of their earnings than other industries because they require more asset investment just to operate. Also, because earned surplus represents the sum of profits less dividends since inception, older companies may report significantly higher earned surplus than identical younger ones.

This is why comparison of earned surplus is difficult but generally most meaningful among companies of the same age and within the same industry, and the definition of "high" or "low" earned surplus should be made within this context.

Source: Investing Answers

surplus

noun

English Language Learners Definition of surplus

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an amount (such as an amount of money) that is more than the amount that is needed

surplus

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of surplus (Entry 2 of 2)

: more than the amount that is needed

surplus

noun
sur·​plus | \ ˈsər-pləs How to pronounce surplus (audio) \

Kids Definition of surplus

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an amount left over : excess

surplus

adjective

Kids Definition of surplus (Entry 2 of 2)

: left over : extra surplus wheat

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surplus

noun
sur·​plus | \ ˈsər-ˌpləs How to pronounce surplus (audio) \

Legal Definition of surplus

1a : an amount that remains when a use or need is satisfied
b : an excess of receipts over disbursements
c : the value of assets after subtracting liabilities
2 : an excess of the net worth of a corporation over the par value of its capital stock — compare undivided profits
capital surplus
: all surplus other than earned surplus
earned surplus
: the surplus that remains after deducting losses, distributions to stockholders, and transfers to capital stock accounts
paid-in surplus
: surplus resulting from the sale of stock at amounts above par

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Comments on surplus

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