[ sur-pluhs, -pluhs ]
See synonyms for surplus on
  1. something that remains above what is used or needed.

  2. an amount, quantity, etc., greater than needed.

  1. 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.

  2. Accounting.

    • 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.

    • an amount of assets in excess of what is requisite to meet liabilities.

  1. being a surplus; being in excess of what is required: surplus wheat.

verb (used with object),sur·plussed or sur·plused,sur·plus·sing or sur·plus·ing.
  1. to treat as surplus; sell off; retire: The government surplussed some of its desert lands.

Origin of surplus

First recorded in 1325–75; Middle English, from Old French surplus, s(o)urplus, from Medieval Latin superplūs, equivalent to super- preposition and prefix + plūs neuter noun; see origin at super-, plus

synonym study For surplus

1. See remainder.

Other words for surplus

Words that may be confused with surplus

Words Nearby surplus Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use surplus in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for surplus


/ (ˈsɜːpləs) /

nounplural -pluses
  1. a quantity or amount in excess of what is required

  2. accounting

    • an excess of total assets over total liabilities

    • an excess of actual net assets over the nominal value of capital stock

    • an excess of revenues over expenditures during a certain period of time

  1. economics

    • an excess of government revenues over expenditures during a certain financial year

    • an excess of receipts over payments on the balance of payments

  1. being in excess; extra

Origin of surplus

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

Cultural definitions for surplus


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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.