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[ser-pas, -pahs] /sərˈpæs, -ˈpɑs/
verb (used with object)
to go beyond in amount, extent, or degree; be greater than; exceed.
to go beyond in excellence or achievement; be superior to; excel:
He surpassed his brother in sports.
to be beyond the range or capacity of; transcend:
misery that surpasses description.
Origin of surpass
1545-55; < Middle French surpasser, equivalent to sur- sur-1 + passer to pass
Related forms
surpassable, adjective
surpasser, noun
unsurpassable, adjective
unsurpassed, adjective
2. beat, outstrip. See excel. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for unsurpassed
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But for mountain sheep, caribou and moose ranging over wide areas this section is unsurpassed.

    The Land of Tomorrow William B Stephenson, Jr.
  • There are several waterfalls, unsurpassed for picturesque beauty.

    The Western World W.H.G. Kingston
  • The arts of life were very perfect; the gold-work of that time is unsurpassed--has never been surpassed.

  • The campaigns and battle-pieces of Thiers are unsurpassed in their kind.

  • The unsurpassed brilliancy of the writer throws not one single spark to make noticeable the quiet uniform mediocrity of the man.

  • It is unsurpassed in all the annals of our country's history.

    Grace Darling Eva Hope
  • In the building as well as in the management of canoes they were unsurpassed.

    The Hawaiian Islands The Department of Foreign Affairs
  • The genius of Hippocrates is unsurpassed in the history of medicine.

British Dictionary definitions for unsurpassed


superior in achievement or excellence to any other: of an unsurpassed quality
Derived Forms
unsurpassable, adjective


verb (transitive)
to be greater than in degree, extent, etc
to be superior to in achievement or excellence
to overstep the limit or range of: the theory surpasses my comprehension
Derived Forms
surpassable, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from French surpasser, from sur-1 + passer to pass
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 unsurpassed

1775, from un- (1) "not" + past participle of surpass.



1550s, from Middle French surpasser "go beyond, exceed, excel," from Old French sur- "beyond" (see sur-) + passer "to go by" (see pass (v.)). Related: Surpassed; surpassing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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