Synonym Chooser

How does the verb surpass contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of surpass are exceed, excel, outdo, outstrip, and transcend. While all these words mean "to go or be beyond a stated or implied limit, measure, or degree," surpass suggests superiority in quality, merit, or skill.

the book surpassed our expectations

When might exceed be a better fit than surpass?

Although the words exceed and surpass have much in common, exceed implies going beyond a limit set by authority or established by custom or by prior achievement.

exceed the speed limit

Where would excel be a reasonable alternative to surpass?

The meanings of excel and surpass largely overlap; however, excel implies preeminence in achievement or quality and may suggest superiority to all others.

excels in mathematics

In what contexts can outdo take the place of surpass?

The words outdo and surpass can be used in similar contexts, but outdo applies to a bettering or exceeding what has been done before.

outdid herself this time

When is it sensible to use outstrip instead of surpass?

While in some cases nearly identical to surpass, outstrip suggests surpassing in a race or competition.

outstripped other firms in sales

When can transcend be used instead of surpass?

While the synonyms transcend and surpass are close in meaning, transcend implies a rising or extending notably above or beyond ordinary limits.

transcended the values of their culture

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Cite this Entry

“Surpass.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/surpass. Accessed 5 Dec. 2022.

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