Is there a single noun, preferably not a gerund, for the act of exceeding or surpassing? In editing test reports and similar technical material, I come across the notion of exceeding or surpassing a limit, threshold, or expectation. My dictionary searches have yielded only gerunds. I've considered "exceedance" but cannot find evidence that it is a word.

  • 4
    Can you give an example (with a blank is fine) for the gerund-free sentence you hope to construct? – Monica Cellio Jun 15 '11 at 17:41
  • The only thing that comes to mind is "overtop", and only because it's such a hodgepodge of a word that it might slip past your requirements. – overslacked Jun 15 '11 at 17:48
  • here's some proof for exceedance onelook.com/?w=exceedance&ls=a – Unreason Jun 15 '11 at 17:49
  • I'm not sure exceedance means what Debby intends. It seems as though exceedance is the thing that is in excess, rather than the actual act of exceeding (something more like *excession, perhaps). – Kit Z. Fox Jun 15 '11 at 18:01
  • 2
    You mean, like stackoverflow? – Phira Jun 15 '11 at 18:10

"Transcendence" might work for you, if you don't mind the minor New Agey connotations it can have in certain contexts.


According to quite a few dictionaries exceedance is a word.

Here are some of the results of the search for its synonyms (not gerunds):

  • excess
  • overrun
  • overshoot
  • overhang
  • overflow
  • I reconsidered exceedance after reading some other of the dictionary definitions, including the M-W and the business dictionary you linked to. (The first ones I choose seemed less clear on this point.) I agree, exceedance is the correct word. – Kit Z. Fox Jun 16 '11 at 12:17

Although it has been overused almost to the point of banality, excellence means literally "the fact or state of excelling," and in turn, to excel means "to surpass."

  • You might also consider excess; and as others have said, exceedance is in dictionaries as well. – senderle Jun 15 '11 at 18:35
  • +1 because you're quite right, and because you only put up one suggestion in your actual answer. btw - just because exceedance is in some dictionaries (exceedence in others) doesn't mean it's relevant to this question. See my comment against the question itself. – FumbleFingers Jun 15 '11 at 20:41
  • +1 excellence or excellency is the correct answer, depending on context. – ghoppe Jun 15 '11 at 21:33
  • 1
    @Unreason, I think you're right about the distinction between acts and states, but there is some semantic overlap between the two, such that excellence may still be applicable. I think we need more context from the OP to be certain. – senderle Jun 16 '11 at 16:36
  • 1
    @Unreason There's no need to try and shoehorn the word into a particular construction. Consider: "Our profits exceeded expectations. This excellence was quite remarkable." or "This grade of steel surpasses the tensile strength required to build the structure. Its excellency was determined by an experiment which… blah blah" – ghoppe Jun 16 '11 at 16:46

The word I might use is overage. This usually refers to an excess quantity of goods, but could also refer to excess "performance."

A similar world in this vein is overachievement.


I think you could say: outperformance

  • Answers are expected to be lengthy. A good expert answer includes explanation, context, and supporting facts. This is what makes the answer useful – not only to the asker, but to future visitors to the page. Please consider expanding your answer. – MetaEd Mar 20 '18 at 20:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.