Definition of surplus in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsərpləs/


1An amount of something left over when requirements have been met; an excess of production or supply over demand: exports of food surpluses
More example sentences
  • In the West, a surplus of food supply has made obesity the main concern of adults, and slimness has been regarded as a symbol of health and beauty.
  • Hunter-gatherer societies don't produce enough food surpluses to support those extra people.
  • None of this would have been possible without the development of agriculture and the capacity to produce a surplus of food that could be supplied to a sector of the population that was no longer responsible for feeding itself.
excess, surfeit, superabundance, superfluity, oversupply, glut, profusion, plethora;
remainder, residue, remains, leftovers
1.1An excess of income or assets over expenditure or liabilities in a given period, typically a fiscal year: a trade surplus of $1.4 billion
More example sentences
  • He further said the narrowing surplus in the current account resulted from a narrowing surplus in the investment income account.
  • The notion that equity pre-funding financed by on-budget surpluses can increase capital accumulation buys into the fallacies that have driven policies of fiscal austerity.
  • It has $125 million of surplus of assets over liabilities.
1.2The excess value of a company’s assets over the face value of its stock.
Example sentences
  • For companies who need to commit resources a long while in advance in order to meet consumers' needs, an accurate understanding of the market environment is crucial if stock surpluses and shortages are to be avoided.


1More than what is needed or used; excess: make the most of your surplus cash
More example sentences
  • The surplus cash remaining after the purchase of a more compact residence could be used for living expenses, or a once-in-a-lifetime holiday.
  • We are being just as bad as schools who have surplus cash if we're not going to use it.
  • Moreover, there is increased competition from other products that means that consumers now decide whether to spend their surplus cash on a CD or DVD, for instance.
excess, leftover, unused, remaining, extra, additional, spare;
superfluous, redundant, unwanted, unneeded, dispensable, expendable
1.1Denoting a store selling excess or out-of-date military equipment or clothing: she had picked up her boots in an army surplus store
More example sentences
  • Grenade pouches that are sold at military surplus stores work, too.
  • ‘That's not the sort of thing you pick up at a military surplus store,’ he added.
  • You can go to the military surplus store and get excellent dress black for a dollar or two.


Late Middle English: from Old French sourplus, from medieval Latin superplus, from super- 'in addition' + plus 'more'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sur·plus

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