surfeit

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old French surfaire (to augment, exaggerate, exceed), from sur- + faire (to do).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

surfeit (countable and uncountable, plural surfeits)

  1. (countable) An excessive amount of something.
    A surfeit of wheat is driving down the price.
  2. (uncountable) Overindulgence in either food or drink; overeating.
    • Shakespeare
      Now comes the sick hour that his surfeit made.
  3. (countable) A sickness or condition caused by overindulgence.
    King Henry I is said to have died of a surfeit of lampreys.
    • Bunyan
      to prevent surfeit and other diseases that are incident to those that heat their blood by travels
  4. Disgust caused by excess; satiety.
    • Burke
      Matter and argument have been supplied abundantly, and even to surfeit.
    • Sir Philip Sidney
      Now for similitudes in certain printed discourses, I think all herbalists, all stories of beasts, fowls, and fishes are rifled up, that they may come in multitudes to wait upon any of our conceits, which certainly is as absurd a surfeit to the ears as is possible.

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Verb[edit]

surfeit (third-person singular simple present surfeits, present participle surfeiting, simple past and past participle surfeited)

  1. (transitive) To fill to excess.
    • 1610, The Tempest, by Shakespeare, act 3 scene 3
      You are three men of sin, whom Destiny,
      That hath to instrument this lower world
      And what is in't,—the never-surfeited sea
      Hath caused to belch up you;
  2. (transitive) To feed someone to excess.
    She surfeited her children on sweets.
  3. (intransitive, reflexive) To overeat or feed to excess.
    • 1906, O. Henry, The Furnished Room
      To the door of this, the twelfth house whose bell he had rung, came a housekeeper who made him think of an unwholesome, surfeited worm that had eaten its nut to a hollow shell and now sought to fill the vacancy with edible lodgers.
  4. (intransitive, reflexive) To sicken from overindulgence.

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