The surf is what you see when you stand on the beach and look at the ocean — waves rising and breaking on the shore. It’s also what you do when you ride those waves. Surf’s up, dude!

Surf means "crashing waves," but it's also a verb meaning to ride those waves with a surf board. When you surf, you stand upright on a board and ride over breaking waves into the shore. A more figurative meaning of surf is "search casually," as in "channel surf," or click idly between TV stations. The origin of the word is a mystery, though it's thought to have first been used in reference to the Indian coast.

Definitions of surf

n waves breaking on the shore

breaker, breakers
Type of:
moving ridge, wave
one of a series of ridges that moves across the surface of a liquid (especially across a large body of water)

v ride the waves of the sea with a surfboard

“Californians love to surf
ride standing on a surfboard with an attached sail, on water
Type of:
move smoothly and effortlessly

v look around casually and randomly, without seeking anything in particular

surf the internet or the world wide web”
browse, shop
shop around; not necessarily buying
Type of:
look for, search, seek
try to locate or discover, or try to establish the existence of

v switch channels, on television

Type of:
change, shift, switch
lay aside, abandon, or leave for another

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