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[ser-pas, -pahs] /sərˈpæs, -ˈpɑs/
verb (used with object)
to go beyond in amount, extent, or degree; be greater than; exceed.
to go beyond in excellence or achievement; be superior to; excel:
He surpassed his brother in sports.
to be beyond the range or capacity of; transcend:
misery that surpasses description.
Origin of surpass
1545-55; < Middle French surpasser, equivalent to sur- sur-1 + passer to pass
Related forms
surpassable, adjective
surpasser, noun
unsurpassable, adjective
unsurpassed, adjective
2. beat, outstrip. See excel. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for surpassed
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In all these fields Pyle's work may be equaled, surpassed, save in one.

  • The result of the performance has surpassed my anticipations.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • It is the only tavern in the village, and for neatness and comfort can not easily be surpassed.

  • But no one surpassed him in the combination of an adequate portion of these with moral worth.

    Self-Help Samuel Smiles
  • Meg was adorable with her children and surpassed herself in the telling of stories.

    Jan and Her Job L. Allen Harker
British Dictionary definitions for surpassed


verb (transitive)
to be greater than in degree, extent, etc
to be superior to in achievement or excellence
to overstep the limit or range of: the theory surpasses my comprehension
Derived Forms
surpassable, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from French surpasser, from sur-1 + passer to pass
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for surpassed



1550s, from Middle French surpasser "go beyond, exceed, excel," from Old French sur- "beyond" (see sur-) + passer "to go by" (see pass (v.)). Related: Surpassed; surpassing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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