from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To rise and move in a billowing or swelling manner.
  • intransitive v. To roll or be tossed about on waves, as a boat.
  • intransitive v. To move like advancing waves: The fans surged forward to see the movie star.
  • intransitive v. To increase suddenly: As favorable reviews came out, interest in the software surged.
  • intransitive v. To improve one's performance suddenly, especially in bettering one's standing in a competition.
  • intransitive v. Nautical To slip around a windlass. Used of a rope.
  • transitive v. Nautical To loosen or slacken (a cable) gradually.
  • n. A heavy billowing or swelling motion like that of great waves.
  • n. Wave motion with low height and a shorter period than a swell.
  • n. A coastal rise in water level caused by wind.
  • n. The forward and backward motion of a ship subjected to wave action.
  • n. A sudden onrush: a surge of joy.
  • n. A period of intense effort that improves a competitor's standing, as in a race.
  • n. A sudden, transient increase or oscillation in electric current or voltage.
  • n. An instability in the power output of an engine.
  • n. Astronomy A brief, violent disturbance occurring during the eruption of a solar flare.
  • n. Nautical The part of a windlass into which the cable surges.
  • n. Nautical A temporary release or slackening of a cable.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A sudden rush, flood or increase which is transient.
  • n. The maximum amplitude of a vehicles' forward/backward oscillation
  • n. A sudden electrical spike or increase of voltage and current.
  • n. The swell or heave of the sea. (FM 55-501).
  • v. To rush, flood, or increase suddenly.
  • v. To accelerate forwards, particularly suddenly.
  • v. To slack off a line.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A spring; a fountain.
  • n. A large wave or billow; a great, rolling swell of water, produced generally by a high wind.
  • n. The motion of, or produced by, a great wave.
  • n. The tapered part of a windlass barrel or a capstan, upon which the cable surges, or slips.
  • intransitive v. To swell; to rise hifg and roll.
  • intransitive v. To slip along a windlass.
  • transitive v. To let go or slacken suddenly, as a rope; ; also, to slacken the rope about (a capstan).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To rise and fall, as a ship on the waves; especially, to ride near the shore; ride at anchor.
  • To rise high and roll, as waves: literally or figuratively.
  • Nautical: To slip back: as, the cable surges.
  • To let go a piece of rope suddenly; slack a rope up suddenly when it renders round a pin, a winch, windlass, or capstan.
  • In electricity, to oscillate violently: said of oscillatory rushes of current.
  • To cause to rise and swell forth with a billowy motion.
  • n. A spring; a fountain; a source of water.
  • n. A large wave or billow; a great rolling swell of water; also, such waves or swells collectively: literally or figuratively.
  • n. The act of surging, or of heaving in an undulatory manner.
  • n. In ship-building, the tapered part in front of the whelps, between the chocks of a capstan, on which a rope may surge.
  • n. Any change of barometric level which is not due to the passage of an area of low pressure or to diurnal variation.
  • n. In electricity, a sudden rush of current; specifically, the violent oscillations which may occur in alternating-current circuits when the conditions for resonance are fulfilled, or which may be set up in conductors by the inductive action of lightning.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a sudden forceful flow
  • n. a sudden or abrupt strong increase
  • n. a large sea wave
  • v. rise rapidly
  • v. rise and move, as in waves or billows
  • v. see one's performance improve
  • v. rise or heave upward under the influence of a natural force such as a wave
  • v. rise or move forward


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Probably French sourdre, sourge- (from Old French) and French surgir, to rise (from Old French, to cast anchor, from Old Catalan), both from Latin surgere, to rise : sub-, from below; see sub- + regere, to lead straight; see reg- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English surgen, from possibly from Middle French sourgir, from Old French surgir ("to rise, ride near the shore, arrive, land"), from Old Catalan surgir, from Latin surgere, contr. of surrigere, subrigere ("transitive lift up, raise, erect; intransitive rise, arise, get up, spring up, grow, etc."), from sub ("under") + regere ("to stretch"); see regent.



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  • The sky suffered a particle surge, briefly went a deeper blue. Sweat bloomed in my palm as I took the phone. From "The Last Werewolf" by Glen Duncan.

    March 23, 2012

  • "The Atlantic surge

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  • "First, the surge was not primarily responsible for the drop in sectarian violence in Iraq. It played a role, but was far less important than the simple, grim fact that the Shiite militias in Baghdad had already succeeded in ethnically cleansing the city. This was established by a team of UCLA geographers who analyzed night-light signatures in the city. They found that night lights in Sunni neighborhoods declined dramatically just before the February 2007 surge and never came back. 'Essentially, our interpretation is that violence has declined in Baghdad because of intercommunal violence that reached a climax as the surge was beginning,' John Agnew, a UCLA professor of geography and the study's lead author, told Science Daily. 'By the launch of the surge, many of the targets of conflict had either been killed or fled the country, and they turned off the lights when they left ... The surge really seems to have been a case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.'"

    - Gary Kamiya, 'Remember Iraq?', 30 Sep 2008.

    October 1, 2008