Definition of surpass in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Exceed; be greater than.

    ‘prewar levels of production were surpassed in 1929’
    • ‘The victory was his 51st of the season to surpass the previous mark of 50.’
    • ‘The divorce rate among Korean Americans has reached and is possibly surpassing the national average.’
    • ‘In her first month of production her sales-commission numbers surpassed my first year.’
    • ‘The film's incredibly bad storyline was only surpassed by the poor acting.’
    • ‘The North American industry, including both console and computer games, is worth about $11 billion, easily surpassing movie box office totals, its closest competitor.’
    • ‘At 308 metres, it will be the tallest building in the country, surpassing the 298-metre-tall First Canadian Place in downtown Toronto, Trump said today in a release.’
    • ‘Of the eight players chosen ahead of Stoudemire, none has surpassed his production.’
    • ‘Moving on quickly, Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean raised a stunning $7.5 million in the second quarter of this year, surpassing his eight rivals.’
    • ‘I expect that production of cars in Thailand will surpass the 640,000-unit mark.’
    • ‘The rubbery consistency was surpassed only by the amount of sediment in the liqueur.’
    • ‘Ticket sales have already surpassed the 100,000 milestone.’
    • ‘Remittances, as they're called, are expected to become Mexico's primary source of income this year, surpassing the amount of money that Mexico makes on oil exports for the first time ever.’
    • ‘Some 23 provinces suffer power shortages as demand from industrial production surpasses the growth of generation capacity.’
    • ‘The sum of the parts often surpasses the originals.’
    • ‘Oddly, television, despite its factory-like production mechanisms, surpasses film in receptivity to chance in its productions.’
    • ‘Companies in the midst of their seasons are meeting or surpassing their sales goals for the majority of their individual productions.’
    • ‘The number of expressed sequences greatly surpasses the estimated number of protein-coding genes in mammalian genomes.’
    • ‘The sound for the game, however, far surpasses any expectation for a video game.’
    • ‘Consumers in this market are driven by a passion for a sport and its products that surpasses the level of passion for other recreational activities.’
    • ‘If their arguments are successful, they can easily surpass the targets.’
    excel, be better than, be superior to, be greater than, exceed, transcend
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Be better than.
      ‘he continued to surpass me at all games’
      • ‘Ever believable, this actress to my mind continually surpasses what I have always come to think of as her definitive performance.’
      • ‘Really successful logos sometimes attain a level of cultural recognition that surpasses the product they represent.’
      • ‘He was a strong leader, a visionary in his way, a figure surpassing all around him at home and on the continent.’
      • ‘Once again the cast have been asked to put on a special attempt to surpass the productions of the past years.’
      excel, be better than, be superior to, be greater than, exceed, transcend
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2surpass oneself Do or be better than ever before.
      ‘the organist was surpassing himself’
      • ‘You have truly surpassed yourself in all manner of possible ways!’
      • ‘The forward-thinking people at the Town Hall have surpassed themselves with the speaking lifts in Lurke Street car park.’
      • ‘In his secular life, which included working in sales and store management, he surpassed himself, but always found that the work lacked spiritual fulfillment.’
      • ‘It was a night when the British team continued to surpass themselves, though, and the men also dredged up their best showing of 2004.’
      • ‘The US has surpassed itself in achieving the first part.’
      • ‘On the last day of the week-long spam count, the spammers have really surpassed themselves.’
      • ‘Every year it surpasses itself with kitschness and when you see it listed on the television schedule, eyes invariably roll to heaven accompanied by moans and groans of distaste.’
      • ‘I thought last week's performance by Cris was the worst I'd ever seen by a professional footballer, but he's surpassing himself tonight.’
      • ‘Now the ever progressive York gallery has surpassed itself by presenting an exhibition by Annie Halliday that utilises neither camera nor lens.’
      • ‘Our readers have so often displayed unfailing generosity: this time, you surpassed yourself in the most amazing style.’
      • ‘Once again, he surpassed himself with his third album, composing some of the most complex melodies that will still touch you to the core.’
      • ‘It is, finally, with the magisterial last story that Ford surpasses himself, writing with a directness and clarity that leaves even the best of the stories in its dust.’
      • ‘Playwrights, actors and audiences alike constantly surpassed themselves, and it's something I now always strive for in my work.’
      • ‘It surpassed itself this year with red neon dragons strewn across the buildings.’
      • ‘Jackie Stewart was always quick off the mark, but this time he has surpassed himself.’
      • ‘The council has really surpassed itself this year.’
      • ‘I've surpassed myself for booking into a bizarre hotel.’
      • ‘This great annual event, now in its 177th year, really and truly surpassed itself with a display of all that is good in the countryside.’
      • ‘I have surprised, amazed and surpassed myself, and have therefore signed up for the next one which is in Blackheath in July.’
      • ‘The great religions, by inviting human beings constantly to surpass themselves, are part of what makes the human project possible.’


Mid 16th century: from French surpasser, from sur- ‘above’ + passer ‘to pass’.