[ surf ]
/ sɜrf /


the swell of the sea that breaks upon a shore or upon shoals.
the mass or line of foamy water caused by the breaking of the sea upon a shore, especially a shallow or sloping shore.

verb (used without object)

verb (used with object)

to ride a surfboard on: We surfed every big wave in sight.
to search through (a computer network or TV channels) for information or entertainment.

Origin of surf

First recorded in 1675–85; earlier suff; of uncertain origin


1 See wave.

Related forms

surf·a·ble, adjectivesurf·er, nounsurf·like, adjective

Can be confused

serf surf Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for surfer

British Dictionary definitions for surfer


/ (sɜːf) /


waves breaking on the shore or on a reef
foam caused by the breaking of waves


(intr) to take part in surfing
  1. computing (on the internet) to move freely from website to website (esp in the phrase surf the net)
  2. to move freely between (TV channels or radio stations)
  1. informal to be carried on top of somethingthat guy's surfing the audience
  2. (in combination)trainsurfing

Derived Forms

surfable, adjectivesurflike, adjective

Word Origin for surf

C17: probably variant of sough 1
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

Science definitions for surfer


[ sûrf ]

The waves of the sea as they break upon a shore or a reef.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.