[ sur-pluhs, -pluhs ]
/ ˈsɜr plʌs, -pləs /
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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), sur·plussed or sur·plused,sur·plus·sing or sur·plus·ing.

to treat as surplus; sell off; retire: The government surplussed some of its desert lands.



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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.


surplice, surplus
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for surplus

British Dictionary definitions for surplus

/ (ˈsɜːpləs) /

noun plural -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 for 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.