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[suhm-er-sawlt] /ˈsʌm ərˌsɔlt/
noun, verb (used without object)


or somerset, summersault, summerset

[suhm-er-sawlt] /ˈsʌm ərˌsɔlt/
an acrobatic movement, either forward or backward, in which the body rolls end over end, making a complete revolution.
such a movement performed in the air as part of a dive, tumbling routine, etc.
a complete overturn or reversal, as of opinion.
verb (used without object)
to perform a somersault.
Origin of somersault
1520-30; < Middle French sombresaut, alteration of sobresault; compare Old Provençal sobre over (< Latin super), saut a leap (< Latin saltus) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for summersault
Historical Examples
  • Loosening the grip of his knees on the apple-bough, he turned a summersault backward and landed on his feet as lightly as a cat.

    Ole Mammy's Torment Annie Fellows Johnston
  • What a place is this elastic floor for a "wrestle or a summersault!"

  • I have actually seen them turn a summersault in the water with one of these home-made craft and come up smiling!

    The Land of Tomorrow William B Stephenson, Jr.
  • The bulldog nearly turned a summersault to show how glad, he was.

    Dick Hamilton's Cadet Days Howard R. Garis
  • What if the work you're toiling at sends the present taste of the town into a summersault?

    Madame Flirt Charles E. Pearce
  • Joke books, solemn as the summersault of the trick elephant in his dotage.

  • Does he turn a summersault or stick his tail between his ears and go over backward?'

  • "I'd have just said I couldn't," giggled Sunny Boy, trying to turn a summersault on the bed.

    Sunny Boy in the Big City Ramy Allison White
  • Turned a summersault down the zigzag, and be lying with a leg broken.

  • He saw Miss Tabby turn a summersault backward and crawl under the porch.

    Dooryard Stories Clara Dillingham Pierson
British Dictionary definitions for summersault


noun, verb
a variant spelling of somersault


  1. a forward roll in which the head is placed on the ground and the trunk and legs are turned over it
  2. a similar roll in a backward direction
an acrobatic feat in which either of these rolls are performed in midair, as in diving or gymnastics
a complete reversal of opinion, policy, etc
(intransitive) to perform a somersault
Word Origin
C16: from Old French soubresault, probably from Old Provençal sobresaut, from sobre over (from Latin super) + saut a jump, leap (from Latin saltus)
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
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Word Origin and History for summersault



1520s, from Middle French sombresault, from Old Provençal sobresaut, from sobre "over" (from Latin supra "over;" see supra-) + saut "a jump," from Latin saltus, from the root of salire "to leap" (see salient (adj.)). Sometimes further corrupted to somerset, etc.


1850, from somersault (n.). Related: Somersaulted; somersaulting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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