[ noun sur-neym; verb sur-neym, sur-neym ]
See synonyms for surname on
  1. Also called last name . the name that a person has in common with other family members, as distinguished from a first name or given name; family name.

  2. a name added to a person's name, as one indicating a circumstance of birth or some characteristic or achievement; epithet.

verb (used with object),sur·named, sur·nam·ing.
  1. to give a surname to; call by a surname.

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Origin of surname

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English (noun); see sur-1, name; modeled on Old French surnom

Other words from surname

  • un·sur·named, adjective

Words Nearby surname Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use surname in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for surname


/ (ˈsɜːˌneɪm) /

  1. Also called: last name, second name a family name as opposed to a first or Christian name

  2. (formerly) a descriptive epithet attached to a person's name to denote a personal characteristic, profession, etc; nickname

  1. (tr) to furnish with or call by a surname

Origin of surname

C14: via Anglo-French from Old French surnom. See sur- 1, name

Derived forms of surname

  • surnamer, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012