Definition of surmount in English:



  • 1Overcome (a difficulty or obstacle)

    ‘all manner of cultural differences were surmounted’
    • ‘Having surmounted the hurdle of the committee stage the bill will proceed to become law in the normal way.’
    • ‘Again, his hunger for learning enabled him to surmount the obstacles and extract all he could from the academic and cultural opportunities available to him.’
    • ‘He's the only one to have surmounted every obstacle.’
    • ‘The Koreans argue that those obstacles are easily surmounted.’
    • ‘By and large, the problems with the site were successfully surmounted.’
    • ‘As one minor obstacle was surmounted another one appeared on the horizon in the shape of my suit jacket and the fact that it was looking at me from inside the car that I couldn't get into.’
    • ‘Yoplait had a stab at chocolate in the late 1980s, but new technologies finally allowed its researchers to surmount the obstacles in adding the flavor to cultured dairy.’
    • ‘Only considerable skill in narrative can surmount the difficulty of this complete change of tone within the limits of one book.’
    • ‘In Act Two, though, the excellence of the play surmounts all obstacles, and hits piercingly home.’
    • ‘Access to this market would rely on those exporters that can surmount the challenges.’
    • ‘Hill was able to surmount major obstacles like environmental testing of the sediments.’
    • ‘The scavenger molecules, when added to the bulk, also find it difficult to surmount this barrier and pick up the proton from the protein surface.’
    • ‘While a poor production can easily reduce a great play to disordered rubbish, it's a bit more difficult for a fine production to surmount the obstacles presented by an absurdly tangled script.’
    • ‘Moreover, a syndicate bank will find it difficult to surmount the usual exclusion clauses and disclaimers inserted in the documentation.’
    • ‘Determining user context will require software designers to surmount serious engineering hurdles, however.’
    • ‘Fortunately, we have children who have surmounted these difficulties and who have been described by the Children's Lawyer as engaging, active and well-adjusted.’
    • ‘The boy from Tunapuna had fearlessly and single-handedly faced and surmounted all obstacles and carved a niche market from scratch.’
    • ‘To keep growing at its current pace, Houghton must surmount some formidable challenges.’
    • ‘Hanan surmounted the obstacles she recounted in her narrative by travelling first to Egypt, arranging there for her ultimate destination.’
    • ‘Even if the Tories could surmount their self-inflicted difficulties, their position on public spending differs little from Labour.’
    overcome, conquer, get over, prevail over, triumph over, get the better of, beat, vanquish, master
    View synonyms
  • 2Stand or be placed on top of.

    ‘the tomb was surmounted by a sculptured angel’
    • ‘An altar surmounted by an urn stands on a high podium in front of the ruins of the Basilica of Maxentius.’
    • ‘The whole composition is surmounted by the crown of the Holy Roman Empire.’
    • ‘The coffin, surmounted by her crown, will be placed in the same spot as her royal predecessors’.’
    • ‘Below these words, a framed miniature, eight lines of text tall, depicts a domed structure surrounded by city walls surmounted by turrets, in turn surrounded by water.’
    • ‘If you keep heading upwards then sooner or later you'll reach the jewel that surmounts Alfama's crown.’
    • ‘Above this is a four-sided arched structure, and this is surmounted by a rotunda with Corinthian columns enclosing two statues.’
    • ‘Four towers surmount the corners of the building.’
    • ‘A boxy, low-lying structure about 2 feet tall was surmounted by precarious, spindly towers outfitted with tiny ladders rising to a height of 6 feet.’
    • ‘Built in 1907, the Port of Liverpool Building is surmounted by a green dome supported on pillars.’
    • ‘This, along with certain features of its design, has led to the conjecture that it was intended to surmount a tomb on which more facts would have been inscribed but that this part of the plan was abandoned.’
    • ‘In the centre is the shield of Piedmont Savoy surmounted by the closed crown of the King.’
    cap, top, crown, tip
    rise above, tower above, overtop, dominate
    View synonyms


Late Middle English (also in the sense ‘surpass, be superior to’): from Old French surmonter (see sur-, mount).