[ noun, adjective sur-uh-geyt, -git, suhr-; verb sur-uh-geyt, suhr- ]
See synonyms for surrogate on
  1. a person appointed to act for another; deputy.

  2. (in some states) a judicial officer having jurisdiction over the probate of wills, the administration of estates, etc.

  1. the deputy of an ecclesiastical judge, especially of a bishop or a bishop's chancellor.

  2. a substitute.

  3. Politics. someone who acts on behalf of a politician or political candidate by making public appearances, issuing statements, etc., when that person is engaged elsewhere or when that person’s image would be bolstered by certain affiliations: His camp won the “prestige of science” battle by signing on high-profile physicists, chemists, and biologists as campaign surrogates.

  1. regarded or acting as a surrogate: a surrogate father.

  2. involving or indicating the use of a surrogate mother to conceive or carry an embryo: surrogate parenting.

verb (used with object),sur·ro·gat·ed, sur·ro·gat·ing.
  1. to put into the place of another as a successor, substitute, or deputy; substitute for another.

  2. to subrogate.

Origin of surrogate

First recorded in 1525–35; from Latin surrogātus, variant of subrogātus “nominated as a substitiute”; see subrogate

Other words from surrogate

  • sur·ro·gate·ship, noun
  • sur·ro·ga·tion, noun

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

How to use surrogate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for surrogate


  1. a person or thing acting as a substitute

  2. mainly British a deputy, such as a clergyman appointed to deputize for a bishop in granting marriage licences

  1. psychiatry a person who is a substitute for someone else, esp in childhood when different persons, such as a brother or teacher, can act as substitutes for the parents

  2. (in some US states) a judge with jurisdiction over the probate of wills, etc

  3. (modifier) of, relating to, or acting as a surrogate: a surrogate pleasure

verb(ˈsʌrəˌɡeɪt) (tr)
  1. to put in another's position as a deputy, substitute, etc

  2. to appoint as a successor to oneself

Origin of surrogate

C17: from Latin surrogāre to substitute; see subrogate

Derived forms of surrogate

  • surrogateship, noun
  • surrogation, 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