If you surmount a challenge or difficult situation, you're not just getting over it. You're outdoing yourself, exceeding expectations, and overcoming the task at hand.

  • Pronunciation: / sɚ'maʊnt /
  • English description: get on top of; deal with successfully
  • Synonyms: overcome
  • Chinese Translation: 克服(ke4 fu2)
  • Spanish Translation: vencer
  • ORIGIN: This word comes to us from the Old French verb for mount, or climb. Maria sang "climb every mountain..." in The Sound of Music. But she could have just as well meant "surmount every obstacle" — because to surmount means to both reach the highest point of something, like a mountain, and to totally overcome a mountain-size problem.


  • His high-stakes job has shown him that people can surmount life’s challenges and come out better people on the other end.
  • But critics say the North still has some technical barriers to surmount to achieve reliable nuclear weapons that can attack faraway targets.

*New word description, story and part of "EXAMPLE SENTENCE" are cited in Vocabulary