v. surged, surg·ing, surg·es
1. To rise and move in a billowing or swelling manner.
2. To roll or be tossed about on waves, as a boat.
3. To move like advancing waves: The fans surged forward to see the movie star.
4. To increase suddenly: As favorable reviews came out, interest in the software surged.
5. To improve one's performance suddenly, especially in bettering one's standing in a competition.
6. Nautical To slip around a windlass. Used of a rope.
1. To make a dramatic increase in: "Since the attacks in Paris, we've surged intelligence-sharing with our European allies" (Barack Obama).
2. Nautical To loosen or slacken (a cable) suddenly.
1. A powerful wave or swell of water.
a. A sudden rushing motion like that of a great wave: The surge of the herd forced some animals into the river.
b. The forward and backward motion of a ship subjected to wave action.
a. A sudden onrush or increase: a surge of joy; a surge in prices.
b. A period of intense effort that improves a competitor's standing, as in a race.
c. A sudden, transient increase or oscillation in electric current or voltage.
d. Astronomy A brief increase in the intensity of solar activity such as X-ray emission, solar wind, solar flares, and prominences.
a. The part of a windlass into which the cable surges.
b. A temporary release or slackening of a cable.
[Probably French sourdre, sourge- (from Old French) and French surgir, to rise (from Old French, to cast anchor, from Old Catalan), both from Latin surgere, to rise : sub-, from below; see SUB- + regere, to lead straight; see reg- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.