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Syllabification: sur·name
Pronunciation: /ˈsərˌnām

Definition of surname in English:


1A hereditary name common to all members of a family, as distinct from a given name.
Example sentences
  • Many people who have Hispanic surnames are not Hispanic.
  • At least half of them share the same surname.
  • Wu then adopted the child, who had her surname changed to Wu and currently lives with her biological mother.
1.1 archaic A name, title, or epithet added to a person’s name, especially one indicating their birthplace or a particular quality or achievement: by his successes there, he acquired the surname of “the African.”
More example sentences
  • Not long after their arrival there, Mateo was referred to by another title - his surname changed from Ortega to DiBaena, in reference to their home town.


[with object] Back to top  
Give a surname to: Eddie Penham, so aptly surnamed, had produced a hand-painted sign for us
More example sentences
  • One citizen, surnamed Xie, said he was driving along Hutai Lu at midnight on December 10 last year and stopped at a red light.
  • A man in his 50s surnamed Wang spent three days in one agency.
  • One of the two victims, a man surnamed Jin, was rescued.


Middle English: partial translation of Anglo-Norman French surnoun, suggested by medieval Latin supernomen.

Words that rhyme with surname


Definition of surname in:

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