From Middle English sourrounden (to submerge, overflow), from Middle French souronder, suronder, from Late Latin superundō, from super + undō (to rise in waves), from unda (wave).


  • IPA(key): /səˈɹaʊnd/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aʊnd
  • Hyphenation: sur‧round


surround (third-person singular simple present surrounds, present participle surrounding, simple past and past participle surrounded)

  1. (transitive) To encircle something or simultaneously extend in all directions.
    • 1944, Miles Burton, chapter 5, in The Three Corpse Trick:
      The hovel stood in the centre of what had once been a vegetable garden, but was now a patch of rank weeds. Surrounding this, almost like a zareba, was an irregular ring of gorse and brambles, an unclaimed vestige of the original common.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 3, in The China Governess[1]:
      Sepia Delft tiles surrounded the fireplace, their crudely drawn Biblical scenes in faded cyclamen blending with the pinkish pine, while above them, instead of a mantelshelf, there was an archway high enough to form a balcony with slender balusters and a tapestry-hung wall behind.
    • 2005, Plato, Sophist. Translation by Lesley Brown. 230c.
      and this way they get rid of those grand and stubborn opinions that surround them.
  2. (transitive) To enclose or confine something on all sides so as to prevent escape.
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To pass around; to travel about; to circumnavigate.
    to surround the world
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Fuller to this entry?)



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


surround (plural surrounds)

  1. (Britain) Anything, such as a fence or border, that surrounds something.
    • 1972, Frederick Forsyth, The Odessa File, Viking, SBN 670-52042-x, chapter 15, page 283:
      He drifted through the room, avoiding the furniture by instinct, closed the door that led to the passage, and only then flicked on his flashlight.
      It swept around the room, picking out a desk, a telephone, a wall of bookshelves, and a deep armchair, and finally settled on a handsome fireplace with a large surround of red brick.

Derived termsEdit