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After discussing surrender some words back, I thought it would be interesting to look at some other “sur-“ words to see if any of them came into English in the same way.

However, while the sur- in surrender came from a mispronunciation of the French “se”, the verb to surmount comes to us directly from the French word surmonter and has generally kept the same meanings.

Surmonter itself is built from the French words sur (meaning over, on, or above) and monter, meaning to go or come up, to bring up, to get on (a horse or a bicycle for example), to climb up on (a tree or a ladder), to rise, etc.

Thus surmonter becomes to climb over, and thus to surmount, to overcome.

Il y a beaucoup d’obstacles à surmonter --- There are a lot of obstacles to surmount.

Il a surmonté sa peur --- He overcame his fear.
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