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From Middle French surpasser (to pass beyond). By surface analysis, sur- +‎ pass. Displaced native Old English oferstīgan (literally to climb over).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /səˈpɑːs/
  • (US) IPA(key): /sɚˈpæs/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɑːs, -æs


surpass (third-person singular simple present surpasses, present participle surpassing, simple past and past participle surpassed)

  1. (transitive) To go beyond or exceed (something) in an adjudicative or literal sense.
    The former problem student surpassed his instructor's expectations and scored top marks on his examination.
    The heavy rains threatened to surpass the capabilities of the levee, endangering the town on the other side.
    • 1904–1905, Baroness Orczy [i.e., Emma Orczy], “The Tremarn Case”, in The Case of Miss Elliott, London: T[homas] Fisher Unwin, published 1905, →OCLC; republished as popular edition, London: Greening & Co., 1909, OCLC 11192831, quoted in The Case of Miss Elliott (ebook no. 2000141h.html), Australia: Project Gutenberg of Australia, February 2020:
      “Two or three months more went by; the public were eagerly awaiting the arrival of this semi-exotic claimant to an English peerage, and sensations, surpassing those of the Tichbourne case, were looked forward to with palpitating interest. []
    • 2021 May 2, Emma Sanders, “Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 Sheffield United”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      He celebrated at full-time with a beaming smile as he collected the match ball and he notched up another milestone by becoming the sixth Welshman to surpass 50 Premier League goals.



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