- the name that a person has in common with other family members, as distinguished from a Christian name or given name; family name.
- a name added to a person's name, as one indicating a circumstance of birth or some characteristic or achievement; epithet.
- to give a surname to; call by a surname.
Origin of surname
Examples from the Web for surname
Black wore a hat with his surname, the A formed by a depiction of the African continent.Michael Brown's Hometown Is Under Occupation
August 13, 2014
Lemieux is a French-Canadian surname which means “The Best.”Does ‘Ebony’ Magazine Condone Bigotry?
March 28, 2014
Satisfied, but not content, Gold strives to live up to her surname, as well as stamp it on the long list of American greats.Figure Skater Gracie Gold Is America’s Darling in Sochi
February 19, 2014
Among those officials-turned-entrepreneurs is the British-based Mehdi Shamszadeh, normally uses the surname Shams.Turkey And Iran Accused Of Oil-For-Cash Sanctions Scheme
December 28, 2013
However this Maidan is not about the surname of this next president.Parliamentarian Lesya Orobets on the Myth of a Divided Ukraine
December 16, 2013
She had never known the surname, and on two of the cards "Ph." appeared.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
The signature was extended in full, with the surname blackly underlined.The Cavalier
George Washington Cable
This is the surname of several renowned gastronomers of old Rome.
They called him Anarchisto de Barcelona, as if it were his Christian name and surname.A Set of Six
“Whatever your surname may be, it makes no difference to me,” was his reply.The White Lie
William Le Queux
- Also called: last name, second name a family name as opposed to a first or Christian name
- (formerly) a descriptive epithet attached to a person's name to denote a personal characteristic, profession, etc; nickname
- (tr) to furnish with or call by a surname
Word Origin and History for surname
early 14c., "name, title, or epithet added to a person's name," from sur "above" (see sur-) + name (n.); modeled on Anglo-French surnoun "surname" (early 14c.), variant of Old French surnom, from sur "over" + nom "name."
An Old English word for this was freonama, literally "free name." Meaning "family name" is first found late 14c. Hereditary surnames existed among Norman nobility in England in early 12c., among common people began to be used 13c., increasingly frequent until near universal by end of 14c. The process was later in the north of England than the south. The verb is attested from 1540s.