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

Blame it on the surplus of cat-eyed models on the runway this season or the perennially cool effect of a dramatic rimming of kohl. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "7 Celebrity Makeup Artists on the Best Black Eyeliner of All Time," 26 Apr. 2019 This circular flow of money saw America’s current-account deficit grow in pace with China’s surplus. The Economist, "Sino-American interdependence has been a force for geopolitical stability," 23 June 2018 Agriculture, one of the few sectors of the American economy with a trade surplus, has been more supportive of Nafta than other areas, such as manufacturing. Fortune, "President Trump's Trade Policies are Raising Concerns Among Republicans, Senator Says," 24 Jan. 2018 But there is almost nothing rational about being a parent, beginning with the pure surplus of conception. James Wood, The New Yorker, "Helen DeWitt Has Your Number," 27 Oct. 2017 Meanwhile, the trade surplus that the U.S. runs with Canada grew just a bit smaller under Trump. Brooks Jackson, Philly.com, "Trump's Numbers (Second Quarterly Update) | FactCheck," 11 July 2018 Other kingdoms, like Holmul, definitely had surplus. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "What 61,000 hidden structures reveal about Maya civilization," 28 Sep. 2018 China’s leaders have offered to narrow its multibillion-dollar trade surplus with the United States by purchasing more natural gas, soybeans and other exports. Joe Mcdonald, The Seattle Times, "US, China resume trade talks in Washington ahead of deadline," 19 Feb. 2019 But China’s rise and influence has to do with a lot more than just its trade surplus with the United States. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Mattis’s resignation was a scathing indictment of Trump’s foreign policy," 21 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 Engineers at Aston Martin had discovered that their cars could run on surplus English white wine (albeit mixed with a whey). Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Prince Charles Has a Car That Runs on Wine," 9 Nov. 2018 Eventually, surplus jet engines started to find their way into civilian hands, into the hands of men looking to prove they, too, had the right stuff. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Bloodhound SSC: How do you build a car capable of 1,000mph?," 24 Nov. 2018 Then, the buses will be plugged into the local electric grid, where they’ll be used to store surplus electricity and discharge it when it’s needed most. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "The Big Yellow School Bus Is Going Green," 13 Nov. 2018 Enbridge is slowing down a transition to electric vehicles by flooding the market with cheap, surplus tar-sands crude. WSJ, "Oil Pipeline Purpose Is to Block Electric Cars," 29 July 2018 The new program will not eliminate DOD flight tests, but the simple, two-stage sounding rockets built from surplus inventory motors should cost considerably less than military tests, which can cost tens of millions of dollars to fly. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: SpaceX nabs another contract, Vector cashes in, Vulcan delay," 26 Oct. 2018 The Legislature has directed cities to develop rules around disposing of surplus land for housing, which Mosqueda’s resolution does for City Light. Daniel Beekman, The Seattle Times, "Surplus City Light properties could be sold below market value for low-income housing," 30 July 2018 Buying Surpluses One possible option, according to Steve Censky, deputy secretary of the USDA, could be using the department’s authority under the Commodity Credit Corporation, a federal entity that funds farm subsidies, to buy surplus U.S. crops. Bloomberg.com, "Zuckerberg Testifies Before Senate Panel," 10 Apr. 2018

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

18 May 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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