From Middle English surfeite, surfet, a borrowing from Anglo-Norman surfet, surfeit and Old French sorfet, sorfait, past participle of surfaire (“to augment, exaggerate, exceed”), from sur- (“over”) + faire (“to do”).
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈsɜː.fɪt/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈsɝː.fɪt/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)fɪt
- (countable) An excessive amount of something.
- A surfeit of wheat is driving down the price.
- 2019 January 26, Kitty Empire [pseudonym], “The Streets review – the agony and ecstasy of a great everyman”, in Katharine Viner, editor, The Guardian, London: Guardian News & Media, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 8 April 2019:
- With what could be a surfeit of candour, [Mike] Skinner has described DJing as more creative than playing his own songs, because, to paraphrase, of the "stress" and "creativity" of not knowing what he'll be doing in three minutes' time.
- (uncountable) Overindulgence in either food or drink; overeating.
- c. 1596–1598 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene ii]:
- I feel too much thy blessing: make it [this excess]less,
For fear I surfeit!
Now comes the sick hour that his surfeit made.
- (countable) A sickness or condition caused by overindulgence.
- King Henry I is said to have died of a surfeit of lampreys.
- 1678, John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World, to That which is to Come: […], London: […] Nath[aniel] Ponder […], →OCLC; reprinted in The Pilgrim’s Progress (The Noel Douglas Replicas), London: Noel Douglas, […], 1928, →OCLC:
- the Leaves they do eat to prevent surfeit and other diseases that are incident to those that heat their blood by travels
- Disgust caused by excess; satiety.
- a. 1587 (date written), Phillip Sidney [i.e., Philip Sidney], The Defence of Poesie, London: […] [Thomas Creede] for VVilliam Ponsonby, published 1595, →OCLC, →OCLC:
- Now for ſimilitudes in certain Printed diſcourſes, I thinke all Herberiſts, all ſtories of beaſts, foules, and fiſhes, are rifled vp, that they may come in multitudes to vvait vpon any of our conceits, which certainly is as abſurd a ſurfet to the eares as is poſsible.
- (countable) A group of skunks.
- (excessive amount of something): excess, glut, overabundance, superfluity, surplus, ug
- (overindulgence in food or drink): gluttony, overeating, overindulgence
- (disgust caused by excess): nausea
Derived terms edit
excessive amount of something
overindulgence in either food or drink; overeating
sickness or condition caused by overindulgence
disgust caused by excess; satiety
- (transitive) To fill (something) to excess.
- Synonym: stuff
- 1610–1611 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene iii]:
- You are three men of sin, whom Destiny,
That hath to instrument this lower world
And what is in’t,—the never-surfeited sea
Hath caused to belch up you;
- (transitive) To feed (someone) to excess (on, upon or with something).
- 1906, O. Henry, “The Furnished Room”, in The Four Million, New York: A.L. Burt, page 240:
- To the door of this, the twelfth house whose bell he had rung, came a housekeeper who made him think of an unwholesome, surfeited worm that had eaten its nut to a hollow shell and now sought to fill the vacancy with edible lodgers.
- (transitive) To make (someone) sick as a result of overconsumption.
- (transitive, figurative) To supply (someone) with something to excess; to disgust (someone) through overabundance.
- (transitive) To satisfy (someone's appetite) to excess (both literally and figuratively).
- Synonym: glut
- 1922, Lenore Richards, Nola Treat, chapter 2, in Quantity Cookery,, Boston: Little, Brown, page 8:
- Every one has had the experience of being served with more food than can be eaten with relish and without waste. The effect is to surfeit the appetite and to limit the variety which a patron may have,
- (intransitive, reflexive) To overeat or feed to excess (on or upon something).
- 1917, R. L. Alsaker, chapter 16, in Maintaining Health, New York: Frank E. Morrison, page 174:
- Those who do not surfeit themselves do not weary quickly of any particular article of diet.
- (intransitive, reflexive, figurative) To indulge (in something) to excess.
- 1748, William Gilpin, A Dialogue upon the Gardens of the Right Honourable Viscount Cobham, at Stow in Buckinghamshire, London: B. Seeley, page 54:
- After surfeiting itself with the Feast here provided for it, the Eye, by using a little Exercise in travelling about the Country, grows hungry again, and returns to the Entertainment with fresh Appetite.
- (intransitive, reflexive) To become sick from overindulgence (both literally and figuratively).
- c. 1596–1598 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene ii]:
- […] they are as sick that surfeit with too much as they that starve with nothing.
- 1667 (revival performance), John Dryden, The Wild Gallant: A Comedy. […], In the Savoy [London]: […] T[homas] Newcomb for H[enry] Herringman, […], published 1669, Act II, page 17:
- He that ſerves many Miſtreſſes, ſurfeits on his diet, and grovvs dead to the vvhole ſex: 'tis the folly in the vvorld next long ears and braying.
Derived terms edit
to fill to excess
to feed someone to excess
to overeat or feed to excess
to sicken from overindulgence
Related terms edit
Further reading edit
- “surfeit”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.
- “surfeit”, in The Century Dictionary […], New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911, →OCLC.
- “surfeit”, in OneLook Dictionary Search.