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[ser-mount] /sərˈmaʊnt/
verb (used with object)
to mount upon; get on the top of; mount upon and cross over:
to surmount a hill.
to get over or across (barriers, obstacles, etc.).
to prevail over:
to surmount tremendous difficulties.
to be on top of or above:
a statue surmounting a pillar.
to furnish with something placed on top or above:
to surmount a tower with a spire.
  1. to surpass in excellence.
  2. to exceed in amount.
Origin of surmount
1325-75; Middle English surmounten < Anglo-French surmounter, Middle French. See sur-1, mount1
Related forms
surmountable, adjective
surmountableness, noun
surmounter, noun
unsurmountable, adjective
unsurmounted, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for surmounted
Historical Examples
  • Rounding the base of one of the hills an ore-dump broke into view, surmounted by a derrick.

  • When the window was new it must have been surmounted in the middle of the arch by an ornamental design.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • Nothing but two hundred feet of easy snow remained to be surmounted.

    A Tramp Abroad, Complete Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • Nevertheless doubts remained, innumerable and not to be surmounted.

  • The long walk terminates in a massive gate with stone pillars, surmounted by eagles.

    St. John's College, Cambridge Robert Forsyth Scott
  • These indeed are the difficulties that cannot be surmounted, and the only ones.

  • Shall I not tell you that a feeling which surmounted my apprehensions of discovery chained me to the armoury?

    Secresy E. (Eliza) Fenwick
  • The "Gate of Virtue and Wisdom" connects them, and is surmounted by an odd turret.

  • Yonder stood an inlaid cabinet, surmounted by a crystal mirror and some wonders of Murano glass.

    Love-at-Arms Raphael Sabatini
  • There is no question of sidestepping the difficulty: it must be surmounted.

    College Teaching Paul Klapper
British Dictionary definitions for surmounted


verb (transitive)
to prevail over; overcome: to surmount tremendous difficulties
to ascend and cross to the opposite side of
to lie on top of or rise above
to put something on top of or above
(obsolete) to surpass or exceed
Derived Forms
surmountable, adjective
surmountableness, noun
surmounter, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French surmonter, from sur-1 + monter to mount1
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 surmounted



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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