sur·​plus·​age | \ ˈsər-(ˌ)plə-sij How to pronounce surplusage (audio) \

Definition of surplusage

2a : excessive or nonessential matter
b : matter introduced in legal pleading which is not necessary or relevant to the case

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of surplusage in a Sentence

a mall with a surplusage of stores all selling the same lines of clothing
Recent Examples on the Web In everyday speech, in legal texts and even in translations of Genesis, one person’s surplusage may be another person’s way of dealing with inevitable trade-offs between clarity and concision. Sam Bray, Washington Post, "Translating Genesis: double translation," 25 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'surplusage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of surplusage

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about surplusage

Time Traveler for surplusage

Time Traveler

The first known use of surplusage was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for surplusage

Cite this Entry

“Surplusage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for surplusage


sur·​plus·​age | \ ˈsər-ˌplə-sij How to pronounce surplusage (audio) \

Legal Definition of surplusage

: excessive or nonessential matter especially : matter contained in a pleading that is unnecessary or irrelevant

More from Merriam-Webster on surplusage

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for surplusage

Comments on surplusage

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!