• (America) enPR: sûr'nām, IPA: /ˈsɝneɪm/
  • (British) enPR: sû'nām, IPA: /ˈsɜːneɪm/

surname (plural surnames)

  1. (obsolete) An additional name, particularly those derived from a birthplace, quality, or achievement; an epithet.
    • circa 1330 Arthour and Merlin, 5488:
      Þe .xxxix. Osoman, cert, His surname was: hardi of hert.
    • 1526, Tyndale's Bible, Acts I 23:
      Barsabas (whose syrname was Iustus).
    • 1590, Richard Harvey, Plaine Percevall the peace-maker of England, Sweetly indeuoring with his blunt persuasions to botch vp a reconciliation between Mar-ton and Mar-tother, B3:
      My sirname is Peace-Maker, one that is but poorely regarded in England.
    • circa 1607 William Shakespeare, Coriolanus, V iii 171:
      To his sur-name Coriolanus long#Etymology_3|longs more pride
      Then pitty to our Prayers.
  2. (obsolete) An additional name given to a person, place, or thing; a byname or nickname.
    • circa 1395 Wycliff's Bible, Ecclus. XLVII 19:
      In the name of the Lord, to whom the surname [toname in the 1382 ed.] is God of Israel.
    • 1638, Abraham Cowley, Davideis, IV:
      I have before declared that Baal was the Sun, and Baal Peor, a sirname, from a particular place of his worship.
  3. The name a person shares with other members of that person's family, distinguished from that person's given name or names; a family name.
    • 1393, William Langland, Piers Plowman, C iv 369:
      Þat is noȝt refusy my syres sorname.
    • 1605, William Camden, Remaines, I 32:
      In late yeeres Surnames have beene given for Christian names among vs, and no where else in Christendom.
    • 1876, E. A. Freeman, The History of the Norman Conquest, V xxv 563:
      The Norman Conquest...brought with it the novelty of family nomenclature, that is to say, the use of hereditary surnames.
  4. (Classical studies) The cognomen of Roman names.
    • circa 1400 "St. John Baptist", 928 in W. M. Metcalfe, Legends of the saints: in the Scottish dialect of the fourteenth century (1896), II 249:
      Þe thred herrod had alsua til his suornome agrippa.
  5. (Scottish, obsolete) A clan.
    • 1455 in J. D. Marwick, Charters of Edinburgh (1871), 79:
      The surnam and nerrest of blude to the said Williame.
Synonyms Translations Verb

surname (surnames, present participle surnaming; past and past participle surnamed)

  1. (transitive) To give a surname to.
  2. (transitive) To call by a surname.

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