tr.v. sur·passed, sur·pass·ing, sur·pass·esIdiom:
1. To do more than or be superior to: surpassed her classmates in academic honors. See Synonyms at excel.
2. To be beyond the limit, powers, or capacity of; transcend: misery that surpasses comprehension.
3. To be greater than, as in degree or quality; exceed: The cost of the project surpassed its budget projections.
To do the best that one ever has done at a given activity.
[French surpasser, from Old French, to transgress : sur-, sur- + passer, pass; see PASS.]
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.