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.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Sir Philip Sidney to this entry?)

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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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