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[sur-pluhs, -pluh s] /ˈsɜr plʌs, -pləs/
something that remains above what is used or needed.
an amount, quantity, etc., greater than needed.
agricultural produce or a quantity of food grown by a nation or area in excess of its needs, especially such a quantity of food purchased and stored by a governmental program of guaranteeing farmers a specific price for certain crops.
  1. the excess of assets over liabilities accumulated throughout the existence of a business, excepting assets against which stock certificates have been issued; excess of net worth over capital-stock value.
  2. an amount of assets in excess of what is requisite to meet liabilities.
being a surplus; being in excess of what is required:
surplus wheat.
verb (used with object), surplussed or surplused, surplussing or surplusing.
to treat as surplus; sell off; retire:
The government surplussed some of its desert lands.
Origin of surplus
1325-75; Middle English (noun) < Old French < Medieval Latin superplus, equivalent to super- super- + plus plus
Can be confused
surplice, surplus.
1. superabundance. See remainder. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for surplus


noun (pl) -pluses
a quantity or amount in excess of what is required
  1. an excess of total assets over total liabilities
  2. an excess of actual net assets over the nominal value of capital stock
  3. an excess of revenues over expenditures during a certain period of time
  1. an excess of government revenues over expenditures during a certain financial year
  2. an excess of receipts over payments on the balance of payments
being in excess; extra
Word Origin
C14: from Old French, from Medieval Latin superplūs, from Latin super- + plūs more
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 surplus

late 14c., from Old French surplus, from Medieval Latin superplus "excess, surplus," from Latin super "over" super + plus "more" (see plus).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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surplus in Culture

surplus definition

An unsold quantity of a good resulting from a lack of equilibrium in a market. For example, if a price is artificially high, sellers will bring more goods to the market than buyers will be willing to buy. (Compare shortage.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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