Share this entry
surplice Syllabification: sur·plice
Pronunciation: /ˈsərpləs/

Definition of surplice in English:


Image of surplice
A loose white linen vestment varying from hip-length to calf-length, worn over a cassock by clergy, acolytes, and choristers at Christian church services.
Example sentences
  • Powerful lights made their white surplices glow like neon, and the pulpitted priest seemed to be borne aloft on a cloud of pure radiance.
  • White T-shirts, white jeans, white ponchos, even white surplices stood out in the hot July sun.
  • Once I had stuffed myself behind the wheel with my surplice billowing around me like a collapsed parachute, I switched into passive mode.


Pronunciation: /ˈsərpləst/
Example sentences
  • The introduction of the surpliced choir in England has been associated with the Cambridge Camden Society.
  • We had banners, chanting, and a number of surpliced clergy, besides a large congregation.
  • Gradually a surpliced choir began to lead the music.


Middle English: from Old French sourpelis, from medieval Latin superpellicium, from super- 'above' + pellicia 'fur garment'.

Definition of surplice in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources