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See more synonyms for surmount on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to mount upon; get on the top of; mount upon and cross over: to surmount a hill.
  2. to get over or across (barriers, obstacles, etc.).
  3. to prevail over: to surmount tremendous difficulties.
  4. to be on top of or above: a statue surmounting a pillar.
  5. to furnish with something placed on top or above: to surmount a tower with a spire.
  6. Obsolete.
    1. to surpass in excellence.
    2. to exceed in amount.
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Origin of surmount

1325–75; Middle English surmounten < Anglo-French surmounter, Middle French. See sur-1, mount1
Related formssur·mount·a·ble, adjectivesur·mount·a·ble·ness, nounsur·mount·er, nounun·sur·mount·a·ble, adjectiveun·sur·mount·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for unsurmountable

Historical Examples

  • Others than he would at once be confronted with an unsurmountable difficulty.

    Cooking and Dining in Imperial Rome


  • The difficulty of broaching the subject to his equerry struck him as unsurmountable.


    Louis Couperus

  • He had not been at Frankfort a year before he had learnt to look on this hostility of Austria as unsurmountable.

  • It must have been even an unsurmountable Barrier to the Kofirans, in case they reduced the City.

    The Amours of Zeokinizul, King of the Kofirans

    Claude Prosper Jolyot de Crbillon

  • The presence of a British factor would be an unsurmountable bar to that consummation, hence the necessity of its total removal.

British Dictionary definitions for unsurmountable


  1. (of a problem, etc) not capable of being solved or overcome
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verb (tr)
  1. to prevail over; overcometo surmount tremendous difficulties
  2. to ascend and cross to the opposite side of
  3. to lie on top of or rise above
  4. to put something on top of or above
  5. obsolete to surpass or exceed
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Derived Formssurmountable, adjectivesurmountableness, nounsurmounter, noun

Word Origin

C14: from Old French surmonter, from sur- 1 + monter to mount 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

Word Origin and History for unsurmountable


1701, from un- (1) "not" + surmountable (see surmount).

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late 14c., "to rise above, go beyond," from Old French surmounter "rise above," from sur- "beyond" (see sur-) + monter "to go up" (see mount (v.)). Meaning "to prevail over, overcome" is recorded from late 14c. Related: Surmounted; surmounting.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper