See more synonyms for surge on
  1. a strong, wavelike, forward movement, rush, or sweep: the onward surge of an angry mob.
  2. a strong, swelling, wavelike volume or body of something: a billowing surge of smoke.
  3. a sudden, strong increase or burst: a surge of energy; surges of emotion.
  4. Military. a significant increase in the number of troops deployed to an area.
  5. the rolling swell of the sea.
  6. the swelling and rolling sea: The surge crashed against the rocky coast.
  7. a swelling wave; billow.
  8. Meteorology.
    1. a widespread change in atmospheric pressure that is in addition to cyclonic and normal diurnal changes.
    2. storm surge.
  9. Electricity.
    1. a sudden rush or burst of current or voltage.
    2. a violent oscillatory disturbance.
  10. Nautical. a slackening or slipping back, as of a rope or cable.
  11. Machinery.
    1. an uneven flow and strong momentum given to a fluid, as water in a tank, resulting in a rapid, temporary rise in pressure.
    2. pulsating unevenness of motion in an engine or gas turbine.
verb (used without object), surged, surg·ing.
  1. (of a ship) to rise and fall, toss about, or move along on the waves: to surge at anchor.
  2. to rise, roll, move, or swell forward in or like waves: The sea surged against the shore. The crowd surged back and forth.
  3. to rise as if by a heaving or swelling force: Blood surged to his face.
  4. Electricity.
    1. to increase suddenly, as current or voltage.
    2. to oscillate violently.
  5. Nautical.
    1. to slack off or loosen a rope or cable around a capstan or windlass.
    2. to slip back, as a rope.
  6. Machinery. to move with pulsating unevenness, as something driven by an engine or gas turbine.
verb (used with object), surged, surg·ing.
  1. to cause to surge or roll in or as in waves.
  2. Nautical. to slacken (a rope).

Origin of surge

1480–90; perhaps < Latin surgere to spring up, arise, stand up
Related formsun·surg·ing, adjective
Can be confusedserge surge Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for surge


  1. a strong rush or sweep; sudden increasea surge of anger
  2. the rolling swell of the sea, esp after the passage of a large wave
  3. a heavy rolling motion or soundthe surge of the trumpets
  4. an undulating rolling surface, as of hills
  5. a billowing cloud or volume
  6. nautical a temporary release or slackening of a rope or cable
  7. a large momentary increase in the voltage or current in an electric circuit
  8. an upward instability or unevenness in the power output of an engine
  9. astronomy a short-lived disturbance, occurring during the eruption of a solar flare
  1. (intr) (of waves, the sea, etc) to rise or roll with a heavy swelling motion
  2. (intr) to move like a heavy sea
  3. nautical to slacken or temporarily release (a rope or cable) from a capstan or (of a rope, etc) to be slackened or released and slip back
  4. (intr) (of an electric current or voltage) to undergo a large momentary increase
  5. (tr) rare to cause to move in or as if in a wave or waves
Derived Formssurgeless, adjectivesurger, noun

Word Origin for surge

C15: from Latin surgere to rise, from sub- up + regere to lead
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

Word Origin and History for surge

late 15c., "fountain, stream," probably from Middle French sourge-, stem of sourdre "to rise, swell," from Latin surgere "to rise," contraction of surrigere "to rise," from sub "up from below" + regere "to keep straight, guide" (see regal). Meaning "high, rolling swell of water" is from 1520s; figurative sense of "excited rising up" (as of feelings) is from 1510s.


1510s, from surge (n.). Related: Surged; surging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

surge in Science


  1. A coastal rise in water level caused by wind.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.