surge (v.) Look up surge at
1510s, "to rise and fall," from surge (n.), or from Middle French surgir "rise, ride (as a ship does a wave), spring up, arrive." Meaning "rise high and roll forcefully" is from 1560s. Related: Surged; surging.
surgent (adj.) Look up surgent at
"rising in waves," 1590s, from Latin surgentem (nominative surgens) "rising," present participle of surgere "to rise" (see surge (n.)). In psychology from 1933.
surgeon (n.) Look up surgeon at
c. 1300, sorgien, cirurgian "person who heals by manual operation on the patient," from Anglo-French surgien (13c.), from Old French surgien, cirurgien (13c.), from cirurgie "surgery," from Latin chirurgia "surgery," from Greek kheirourgia, from kheirourgos "working or done by hand," from kheir "hand" (see chiro-) + ergon "work" (see organ).
surgery (n.) Look up surgery at
c. 1300, sirgirie, "medical treatment of an operative nature, such as cutting-operations, setting of fractures, etc.," from Old French surgerie, surgeure, contraction of serurgerie, from Late Latin chirurgia (see surgeon).
surgical (adj.) Look up surgical at
1770, earlier chirurgical (early 15c.), from surgery + -ical. Related: Surgically.
surgical strike: There is no such thing. Don't use unless in a quote, then question what that means. [Isaac Cubillos, "Military Reporters Stylebook and Reference Guide," 2010]
surly (adj.) Look up surly at
1570s, "haughty, imperious," alteration of Middle English sirly "lordly, imperious" (14c.), literally "like a sir," from sir + -ly (1). The meaning "rude, gruff" is first attested 1660s. For sense development, compare lordly, and German herrisch "domineering, imperious," from Herr "master, lord." Related: Surliness.
surmise (v.) Look up surmise at
c. 1400, in law, "to charge, allege," from Old French surmis, past participle of surmettre "to accuse," from sur- "upon" (see sur- (1)) + mettre "put," from Latin mittere "to send" (see mission). Meaning "to infer conjecturally" is recorded from 1700, from the noun. Related: Surmised; surmising.
surmise (n.) Look up surmise at
early 15c., legal, "a charge, a formal accusation," from Old French surmise "accusation," noun use of past participle of surmettre (see surmise (v.)). Meaning "inference, guess" is first found in English 1580s.
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacific—and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

surmount (v.) Look up surmount at
early 14c., "to rise above, go beyond," from Old French surmonter "rise above," from sur- "beyond" (see sur- (1)) + monter "to go up" (see mount (v.)). Meaning "to prevail over, overcome" is recorded from late 14c. Related: Surmounted; surmounting.
surmountable (adj.) Look up surmountable at
late 15c., from Anglo-French sormuntable; see surmount + -able.
surname (n.) Look up surname at
c. 1300, "name, title, or epithet added to a person's name," from sur "above" (from Latin super-; see sur- (1)) + name (n.); modeled on Anglo-French surnoun "surname" (early 14c.), variant of Old French sornom, from sur "over" + nom "name." As "family name" from late 14c.

An Old English word for this was freonama, literally "free name." Meaning "family name" is first found late 14c. Hereditary surnames existed among Norman nobility in England in early 12c., among the common people they began to be used 13c., increasingly frequent until near universal by end of 14c. The process was later in the north of England than the south. The verb is attested from 1510s. Related: Surnamed.
surpass (v.) Look up surpass at
1550s, from Middle French surpasser "go beyond, exceed, excel" (16c.), from sur- "beyond" (see sur- (1)) + passer "to go by" (see pass (v.)). Related: Surpassed; surpassing.
surplice (n.) Look up surplice at
"loose white robe," c. 1200, from Old French surpeliz (12c.), from Medieval Latin superpellicium (vestmentum) "a surplice," literally "an over fur (garment)," from Latin super "over" (see super-) + Medieval Latin pellicium "fur garment, tunic of skins," from Latin pellis "skin" (see film (n.)). So called because it was donned over fur garments worn by clergymen for warmth in unheated medieval churches.
surplus (n.) Look up surplus at
late 14c., from Old French sorplus "remainder, extra" (12c., Modern French surplus), from Medieval Latin superplus "excess, surplus," from Latin super "over" (see super-) + plus "more" (see plus). As an adjective from late 14c.
surplusage (n.) Look up surplusage at
c. 1400, from Medieval Latin surplusagium, from surplus (see surplus).
surprise (n.) Look up surprise at
also formerly surprize, late 14c., "unexpected attack or capture," from Old French surprise "a taking unawares" (13c.), from noun use of past participle of Old French sorprendre "to overtake, seize, invade" (12c.), from sur- "over" (see sur- (1)) + prendre "to take," from Latin prendere, contracted from prehendere "to grasp, seize" (see prehensile). Meaning "something unexpected" first recorded 1590s, that of "feeling of astonishment caused by something unexpected" is c. 1600. Meaning "fancy dish" is attested from 1708.
A Surprize is ... a dish ... which promising little from its first appearance, when open abounds with all sorts of variety. [W. King, "Cookery," 1708]
Surprise party originally was a stealth military detachment (1826); festive sense is attested by 1857; according to Thornton's "American Glossary," originally a gathering of members of a congregation at the house of their preacher "with the ostensible purpose of contributing provisions, &c., for his support," and sometimes called a donation party. Phrase taken by surprise is attested from 1690s.
surprise (v.) Look up surprise at
also formerly surprize, late 14c., "overcome, overpower" (of emotions), from the noun or from Anglo-French surprise, fem. past participle of Old French surprendre (see surprise (n.)). Meaning "come upon unexpectedly" is from 1590s; that of "strike with astonishment" is 1650s.
surprised (adj.) Look up surprised at
1610s, "attacked unexpectedly," past participle adjective from surprise (v.). Meaning "excited by something unexpected" is from 1882.
surprising (adv.) Look up surprising at
1660s, present participle adjective from surprise (v.). Related: Surprisingly.
surreal (adj.) Look up surreal at
1936, back-formation from surrealism or surrealist. Related: Surreally.
surrealism (n.) Look up surrealism at
1927, from French surréalisme (from sur- "beyond" + réalisme "realism"), according to OED coined c. 1917 by Guillaume Apollinaire, taken over by Andre Breton as the name of the movement he launched in 1924 with "Manifeste de Surréalisme." Taken up in English at first in the French form; the Englished version is from 1931.
De cette alliance nouvelle, car jusqu'ici les décors et les costumes d'une part, la chorégraphie d'autre part, n'avaient entre eux qu'un lien factice, il este résulté, dans 'Parade,' une sorte de surréalisme. [Apollinaire, "Notes to 'Parade' "]
See sur- (1) + realism.
surrealist (adj.) Look up surrealist at
1917, from French surréaliste (see surrealism). From 1925 as a noun.
surrealistic (adj.) Look up surrealistic at
1930, from surrealist (see surrealism) + -ic.
surreality (n.) Look up surreality at
1936, from surreal + -ity.
surrender (v.) Look up surrender at
mid-15c., "to give (something) up," from Old French surrendre "give up, deliver over" (13c.), from sur- "over" (see sur- (1)) + rendre "give back" (see render (v.)). Reflexive sense of "to give oneself up" (especially as a prisoner) is from 1580s. Related: Surrendered; surrendering.
surrender (n.) Look up surrender at
early 15c., in law, "a giving up" (of an estate, land grant, interest in property, etc.), from Anglo-French surrendre, Old French surrendre noun use of infinitive, "give up, deliver over" (see surrender (v.)).
surreptitious (adj.) Look up surreptitious at
mid-15c., from Latin surrepticius "stolen, furtive, clandestine," from surreptus, past participle of surripere "seize secretly, take away, steal, plagiarize," from assimilated form of sub "from under" (hence, "secretly;" see sub-) + rapere "to snatch" (see rapid). Related: Surreptitiously.
Surrey Look up Surrey at
Old English suþrige (722), literally "Southerly District" (relative to Middlesex), from suðer, from suð (see south) + -ge "district" (see yeoman). Bede and others use it as a folk-name, as if "People from Surrey." Meaning "two-seated, four-wheeled pleasure carriage" is from 1895, short for Surrey cart, an English pleasure cart (introduced in U.S. 1872), named for Surrey, England, where it first was made.
surrogacy (n.) Look up surrogacy at
1811; see surrogate + -cy.
surrogate (n.) Look up surrogate at
early 15c., from Latin surrogatus, past participle of surrogare/subrogare "put in another's place, substitute," from assimilated form of sub "in the place of, under" (see sub-) + rogare "to ask, propose" (see rogation). Meaning "woman pregnant with the fertilized egg of another woman" is attested from 1978 (from 1972 of animals; surrogate mother in a psychological sense is from 1971). As an adjective from 1630s.
surrogation (n.) Look up surrogation at
1530s, from Medieval Latin surrigationem (nominative surrogatio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin surrogare (see subrogate).
surround (v.) Look up surround at
early 15c., "to flood, overflow," from Anglo-French surounder, Middle French soronder "to overflow, abound; surpass, dominate," from Late Latin superundare "overflow," from Latin super "over" (see super-) + undare "to flow in waves," from unda "wave" (see water (n.1); and compare abound). Sense of "to shut in on all sides" first recorded 1610s, influenced by figurative meaning in French of "dominate," and by sound association with round, which also influenced the spelling of the English word from 17c. Related: Surrounded; surrounding.
surroundings (n.) Look up surroundings at
"environment," 1857, plural verbal noun from surround (v.).
surtax (n.) Look up surtax at
"extra tax," 1834, from French surtaxe, from Old French sur- "over" (see sur- (1)) + taxe "tax" (see tax (n.)).
surveil (v.) Look up surveil at
1904, back-formation from surveillance. Sometimes also surveille. Related: Surveilled; surveilling.
surveillance (n.) Look up surveillance at
1802, from French surveillance "oversight, supervision, a watch," noun of action from surveiller "oversee, watch" (17c.), from sur- "over" (see sur- (1)) + veiller "to watch," from Latin vigilare, from vigil "watchful" (see vigil). Seemingly a word that came to English from the Terror in France ("surveillance committees" were formed in every French municipality in March 1793 by order of the Convention to monitor the actions and movements of suspect persons, outsiders, and dissidents).
survey (v.) Look up survey at
c. 1400, "to consider, contemplate," from Anglo-French surveier, Old French sorveoir "look (down) at, look upon, notice; guard, watch," from Medieval Latin supervidere "oversee" (see supervise). Meaning "examine the condition of" is from mid-15c. That of "to take linear measurements of a tract of ground" is recorded from 1540s. Related: Surveyed; surveying; surveyance (late 14c.).
survey (n.) Look up survey at
late 15c., survei, "oversight, supervision," from survey (v.). The meaning "act of viewing in detail" is from 1540s. Meaning "systematic collection of data on opinions, etc." is attested from 1927.
surveyor (n.) Look up surveyor at
early 15c. (late 14c. as a surname), from Anglo-French surveiour "guard, overseer," Old French sorveor, from Old French verb sorveoir "to survey" (see survey (v.)).
survivability (n.) Look up survivability at
1881, from survivable + -ity.
survivable (adj.) Look up survivable at
"capable of being survived," 1961, of automobile wrecks, from survive + -able. Earlier "capable of surviving," 1879.
survival (n.) Look up survival at
1590s, "act of surviving; continuation after some event," from survive + -al (2). Phrase survival of the fittest (1864) was used by Spencer in place of Darwin's natural selection.
survivalist (n.) Look up survivalist at
from 1882 in various senses, from survival + -ist. As "one who practices outdoor survival skills" (often in anticipation of apocalypse or in fear of government), attested by 1976 (in writings of Kurt Saxon).
survive (v.) Look up survive at
mid-15c. (implied in surviving), "to outlive, continue in existence after the death of another," originally in the legal (inheritance) sense, from Anglo-French survivre, Old French souvivre (12c., Modern French survivre), from Latin supervivere "live beyond, live longer than," from super "over, beyond" (see super-) + vivere "to live" (see vivid). Intransitive sense "to live on" is from late 15c. Related: Survived; surviving.
surviver (n.) Look up surviver at
c. 1600, rare nativized agent noun from survive.
survivor (n.) Look up survivor at
early 15c. in the legal sense of "one who outlives another," agent noun from survive. Meaning "one who has a knack for pulling through adversity" is attested from 1971. Survivor syndrome is first recorded 1968.
sus- Look up sus- at
assimilated form of sub- before -s-.
Susan Look up Susan at
fem. proper name, from French Susanne, from Late Latin Susanna (see Susanna). A top-10 name for girls born in the U.S. 1945-1968 (peaking at #2 from 1957-60).
Susanna Look up Susanna at
also Susannah, fem. proper name, from Latin Susanna, from Greek Sousanna, from Hebrew Shoshannah, literally "a lily." One of the women that attended Jesus in his journeys. Greek also borrowed the Semitic word in its literal sense as souson "lily."
susceptibility (n.) Look up susceptibility at
1640s, from Medieval Latin susceptibilitatem (nominative susceptibilitas), from Late Latin susceptibilis, or else a native formation from susceptible + -ity.