“For Sally, there was no such thing as a surfeit of seashells along the beach.”

What is the best definition of surfeit?

Check your answer!

Choice A - An inadequate amount of something
Choice B - A superficial treatment of something
Choice C - An overabundance of something
Choice D - An in-depth investigation into something


Surfeit (noun) – an overly abundant quantity or supply, to the point of excess; or, the state of being overly full from consumption

GRE pro tips:

You may have noticed that the word surfeit shares a prefix (sur) with the more common word surplus. The French-derived prefix sur, is a shortened version of the Latin word super, meaning “over” or “in addition to.” And, in fact, surplus (meaning an oversupply) is a near synonym of surfeit; however, surfeit suggests more than simply too much of something. It means far too much of, or an overabundance of some supply or quantity. But it can also refer to the state of being overly full, or stuffed, itself. Likewise, as a verb, to surfeit is to overindulge in consumption even to the point of sickness.

And it’s not all bad – surfeit can be both negative and positive in connotation. When used in the context of overdoing it in food or eating (as in gluttony), then “to surfeit” is not a good thing. On the other hand, a surfeit (or surplus) of compassion would be a very good thing.

Maybe you can remember that a surfeit is a super surplus.

Example sentences:

“This market faces what might seem an enviable problem: a surfeit of demand for its limited supply.”

“My brain felt sluggish this morning after surfeiting on food and wine at the reception last night.”