sur·​pass | \ sər-ˈpas How to pronounce surpass (audio) \
surpassed; surpassing; surpasses

Definition of surpass

transitive verb

1 : to become better, greater, or stronger than : exceed surpassed her rivals surpassed all expectations
2 : to go beyond : overstep
3 : to transcend the reach, capacity, or powers of a beauty that surpasses description

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from surpass

surpassable \ sər-​ˈpa-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce surpass (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for surpass

exceed, surpass, transcend, excel, outdo, outstrip mean to go or be beyond a stated or implied limit, measure, or degree. exceed implies going beyond a limit set by authority or established by custom or by prior achievement. exceed the speed limit surpass suggests superiority in quality, merit, or skill. the book surpassed our expectations transcend implies a rising or extending notably above or beyond ordinary limits. transcended the values of their culture excel implies preeminence in achievement or quality and may suggest superiority to all others. excels in mathematics outdo applies to a bettering or exceeding what has been done before. outdid herself this time outstrip suggests surpassing in a race or competition. outstripped other firms in sales

Examples of surpass in a Sentence

Attendance is expected to surpass last year's record. Last quarter, sales surpassed two million. His work regularly surpasses all expectations.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The death rate could potentially surpass the 223 cases reported in 2020. Armando Garcia, ABC News, 17 Oct. 2021 The number of incidents surpass the previous record of 4,432 firearms caught at checkpoints in all of 2019. Timothy Fanning, San Antonio Express-News, 13 Oct. 2021 Rainfall rates in the deeply tropical air mass will surpass an inch and a half per hour. Washington Post, 13 Oct. 2021 But carbon dioxide levels in her son's classroom sometimes surpass 1,300 parts per million. The New York Times, Arkansas Online, 11 Oct. 2021 While the upfront cost isn’t negligible, the payoff can far surpass the initial investment. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2021 Those who believed the talented Tony Pollard would surpass Elliott in this offense can stand down. Eddie Brown, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 Oct. 2021 Irving’s advice reflects a pervasive unease that has settled over Portland this year as the city continues on a pace — now 68 killings — to surpass the most violent year in its modern history — 1987, when 70 people were killed. oregonlive, 6 Oct. 2021 If current trends hold, the number of student cases for the current school year will surpass the last school year's total in the next week or two. Arika Herron, The Indianapolis Star, 4 Oct. 2021

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

See More

First Known Use of surpass

1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for surpass

Middle French surpasser, from sur- + passer to pass

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About surpass

Time Traveler for surpass

Time Traveler

The first known use of surpass was in 1555

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near surpass




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for surpass

Last Updated

20 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Surpass.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for surpass



English Language Learners Definition of surpass

: to be better or greater than (someone or something)


sur·​pass | \ sər-ˈpas How to pronounce surpass (audio) \
surpassed; surpassing

Kids Definition of surpass

1 : to be greater, better, or stronger than : exceed "You will find that the conditions at a fair will surpass your wildest dreams."— E. B. White, Charlotte's Web
2 : to go beyond the reach or powers of The task surpassed their strength.

More from Merriam-Webster on surpass

Nglish: Translation of surpass for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of surpass for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something 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!