Definition of surname in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈsərˌnām/


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.
family name, last name;
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]
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.

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Related Words