The verbs overcome and surmount are close synonyms; they both mean “to prevail over,” as in overcoming or surmounting obstacles or difficulties. Overcome is the more common of the two, and it has meanings that surmount does not. For instance, you can be overcome by grief, that is, overpowered or overwhelmed in body or mind—but you cannot very well be surmounted by grief. But surmount has meanings of its own as well. The earliest senses of the word were “to surpass in excellence” and “to exceed in amount.” While those meanings are obsolete now, the term does retain the suggestion of going above or beyond—in more ways than one. Surmount is also used to talk about getting to the top of things, literally (surmount a hill) and the state of being on top of or above something (a statue surmounting a pillar).
There’s not a lot to like when it comes to today’s word pair. Mean is defined as “offensive, selfish, or unaccommodating.” A person might get mean when they don’t get their way. As unpleasant as that may be, today’s synonym is even worse: malicious means “full of, characterized by, or showing malice,” that is, a desire to inflict injury, harm or suffering on another. The difference is a matter of intent. Whereas a person can be mean out of pettiness or bad temper, reflexive qualities that aren’t necessarily targeted at anyone in particular, malicious behavior is done with the clear intent to cause pain or damage to someone or something.
The adjectives large and enormous both imply great magnitude. Large is defined as “of more than average size, quantity, or degree,” and enormous is defined as “greatly exceeding the common size or extent.” The main difference between these two descriptors is that large operates within the boundaries of what is average or standard (I don’t want the small skillet; I need the large one!); enormous applies to what is out of the norm or unusual (the young singer has enormous potential). You may have noticed the word norm right there in the middle of the word—that's no coincidence, and it's a good reminder of the mold-breaking nature of the term. Usually when we use enormous, it is to emphasize that something stretches the limits of what seems possible or that it goes beyond what was expected or imagined.