Definition of surf in English:



  • 1mass noun The mass or line of foam formed by waves breaking on a seashore or reef.

    ‘the roar of the surf’
    • ‘We just stand there, listening to the thundering surf.’
    • ‘You hear the pounding surf and see a cluster of cartoonish grass huts sprouting in the distance.’
    • ‘Their maiden rescue saw six volunteers saving a troubled fisherman in rough surf and gale-force wind.’
    • ‘We see the surf pounding on the rocks below in the moonlight as Barnabas continues.’
    • ‘The game is played in the surf, in rough surf with decent booming waves.’
    • ‘After that came some reading and napping on the beach and then much frolicking in the rough surf.’
    • ‘The idea of sharing Christmas cheer surrounded by warm sands and crashing surf sounded wonderfully alluring.’
    • ‘With a roar of surf, the wave struck the beach and raced inland toward them.’
    • ‘You'll see one of them disappear under the pounding surf for 8 seconds before resurfacing.’
    • ‘Surrounded by crashing surf, there is no place on its perimeter to land a boat.’
    • ‘She sat in her chamber, listening to the fall of surf on an interior beach.’
    • ‘They formed pairs, walking off in individual directions toward the rolling surf.’
    • ‘The thundering surf around the jutting piers of Pacific Ocean Park is the favoured playground of these washed-out youngsters.’
    • ‘He paused and listened, and it reminded him of breaking surf.’
    • ‘All he wants is someplace warm, where palm trees blow in balmy breezes along a gentle, rolling surf.’
    • ‘On the northeast coast, there were reports of massive waves and thundering surf.’
    • ‘They had come just to watch the surf pounding in here right now.’
    • ‘Then we'd take a swim in the crashing surf before hiking back to our kayaks.’
    • ‘He looks over the pounding surf with an evil smile, and then we hear him thinking.’
    • ‘Occasionally, we could hear surf breaking on the reef that surrounded us.’
    foam, froth, spindrift, spray
    View synonyms
  • 2in singular A spell of surfing.

    ‘he went for an early surf’
    • ‘I got up early this morning in the hope to have a surf before work - only to find that it was dead flat here at Llandudno.’


  • 1no object Stand or lie on a surfboard and ride on a wave towards the shore.

    ‘he's learning to surf’
    • ‘A guy who surfs on his belly did much more than just bruise the ego of one who stands.’
    • ‘Anyone who surfs or who has done a significant amount of marine boating experience can relay a story about a rogue wave.’
    • ‘He had surfed towards the shore, entered the buffer zone on his board, caught another wave, with the consequence that after a couple of seconds he entered the flagged area and then commenced to walk to the shore.’
    • ‘Bethany not only made the final, but surfed well, managing to pick off set waves and paddle for position.’
    • ‘Usually I struggle to get waves anywhere here - there's always a lot of guys, I prefer not to hassle, and I don't think I deserve to get the best waves because I'm not someone who surfs here all the time.’
    • ‘We surfed in countless contests and had even more surf sessions from the early 60's until last year.’
    • ‘It is a waste to let good waves be ridden incompetently, so surfers push harder to surf better.’
    • ‘Have you come to the point where you realize you don't need waves to surf any more?’
    • ‘The sand is black, it was very hot and sunny and if we had taken a surfboard we could have surfed on the waves.’
    • ‘I guess you could say we are a third generation surfing family as my dad surfed in the 1930's in Southern California, I surf, and my son surfs daily.’
    • ‘Each team surfs as a group with 4 surfers in the water at a time’
    • ‘He looked more like he should be surfing off his native Australian coast.’
    • ‘After all, a Mayor who surfs, fights to make our waters as clean as possible, and exchanges ideas every morning with Skip Frye is bound to be a good thing.’
    • ‘Pat's really short and can fit turns in really quick, like on his first wave where he scored an 8.5 and surfed really well.’
    • ‘The Floridian surfed well, but his Brazilian counterpartmanaged an 8.4 toward the end and swung the lead.’
    • ‘I was surfing at a beach near Malibu.’
    • ‘When I stayed with my father in Toronto, I used to watch him surf everyday.’
    • ‘I love it here, but I miss my old friends and how I could surf everyday.’
    • ‘He would explain that he got really bad sunburn while he was surfing at the beach.’
    • ‘It was a little sneaky, but he surfed well and got the score on his last wave.’
    1. 1.1with object Ride (a wave) towards the shore on a surfboard.
      ‘he has built a career out of surfing big waves’
      • ‘For Slater, his first WCT final of 2004 remained well within grasp until the last wave was surfed.’
      • ‘Until now, the location of the wave has remained a secret and surfed only by a handful of surfers from the U.S. and Mexico.’
      • ‘Thanks to its flat bottom, the Transformer spins like a top with the slightest of strokes and surfs standing waves as nimbly as a true kahuna.’
      • ‘We don't know if we still have it in us to surf the big waves.’
      • ‘Despite the lack of depth within the graphics engine, I still got the feeling as though I was surfing a massive wave in an exotic location.’
      • ‘The competition was organised by the West Sligo Forum and included some exotic events like surfing the waves at Enniscrone.’
      • ‘Of course there is also the option that if you can't beat the rain, why not join it by surfing the waves!’
      • ‘The next day, with a hangover and a fridge in tow, he proceeded to surf Strandhill's famous waves.’
      • ‘With Pipeline in his front yard, Johnson started surfing the legendary wave at age 12, and at 17 was invited to surf in the Pipe Masters competition.’
      • ‘We had really gotten into surfing and went there at the end of summer to surf hurricane waves.’
      • ‘Despite the youthful rites of passage of surfing the Pacific waves, the Lone Star State has fulfilled all his childhood fantasies.’
      • ‘I see those guys on TV, and they are surfing those huge waves.’
      • ‘Hansen spent his summers exploring the grottoes and caves along the coastline, surfing its waves, and playing in the forests on San Simeon Point.’
      • ‘‘People who surf mushy waves end up becoming the best surfers,’ says Setterholm.’
      • ‘It's also fast enough to surf standing waves, stable enough to 360 in some holes, and nimble enough to nip into tiny eddies for a break.’
      • ‘That Offaly team was always able to surf the tricky waves, and had a worldliness that this young side couldn't expect to have.’
      • ‘She loved surfing the giant waves of the sea and it was her favorite sport.’
      • ‘The fact that I had never actually seen a wave let alone surfed one was irrelevant.’
      • ‘They can surf the waves, skin a rabbit and dazzle a television audience.’
      • ‘Then he ceases his paddling and surfs the waves back to the water's edge, over and over again - and even now, in my mind.’
    2. 1.2informal Ride on the roof or outside of a fast-moving vehicle, typically a train, for excitement.
      ‘he fell to his death while surfing on a 70 mph train’
  • 2with object Move from site to site on (the Internet)

    ‘the device allows you to surf the Net and send emails’
    • ‘The allows users to surf the Internet and send e-mails or text messages.’
    • ‘Simply surfing the Internet, reading email, downloading music or other files can infect your PC without you knowing it.’
    • ‘If you spend any time surfing the Internet, then you've probably encountered several examples of pop-under windows.’
    • ‘Every day, I have the opportunity of surfing the Internet at home while getting my neighbour to pay for it.’
    • ‘If you can surf the internet, you can make VoIP phone calls.’
    • ‘They sit watching TV, playing computer games and surfing the internet.’
    • ‘Time spent playing computer games and surfing the Internet in lieu of playing outside is also contributing to the surge of obesity.’
    • ‘Basically, I surf the Internet, send a little e-mail, download some music and occasionally work with Microsoft Word.’
    • ‘I remember a few years back the infamous Yahoo taxi cabs that let you surf the internet (via a ricochet modem).’
    • ‘Instead, he surfed the Internet constantly, becoming an accomplished player of computer games.’
    • ‘They establish connections to an Internet service provider and offer open access for their users to surf the Internet.’
    • ‘An increasing number of consumers are surfing the Internet and watching TV at the same time.’
    • ‘There are even some providers who will offer free access if you are willing to surf the Internet with numerous pop-ups from their advertisers.’
    • ‘A recent poll by Homecall showed that the number one reason people surf the internet is to download music.’
    • ‘After a few seconds of network initialisation, you have a GPRS link and you can surf the Internet slowly but serviceably.’
    • ‘They have a very limited knowledge of security and put their business at risk through using their work computer at home or letting family members surf the internet on their work PC.’
    • ‘Now I'm just surfing the net doing high-speed research for a meeting tomorrow.’
    • ‘Anyone surfing the Internet for more than a week eventually needs help from someone else.’
    • ‘At the end of 2000, the area had 6.1 million subscribers surfing the Internet via broadband.’
    • ‘It seems everybody is demanding increased bandwidth to surf the Internet and transmit data faster.’
    1. 2.1
      another term for channel-surf
      • ‘He channel surfed aimlessly as I stared blankly at the TV.’
      • ‘While I was channel surfing, the front door opened and Noah rushed in.’
      • ‘He was channel surfing again like he always did when he had nothing better to do.’


Late 17th century: apparently from obsolete suff, of unknown origin, perhaps influenced by the spelling of surge.