sur·​plus·​age ˈsər-(ˌ)plə-sij How to pronounce surplusage (audio)
: excessive or nonessential matter
: matter introduced in legal pleading which is not necessary or relevant to the case

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, 25 June 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'surplusage.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near surplusage

Cite this Entry

“Surplusage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2024.

Legal Definition


sur·​plus·​age ˈsər-ˌplə-sij How to pronounce surplusage (audio)
: excessive or nonessential matter
especially : matter contained in a pleading that is unnecessary or irrelevant
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