The term "surname" may be used to translate terms from non-English names which carry additional shades of meaning, most notably in the case of Roman cognomens. In fact, the nomen was the surname as the word is commonly understood today but the terms were first applied when surname was still used in the sense of "additional" or "added" name: the cognomen was added to the nomen to show the branch of the family involved. (The modern translation of a similar distinction in ancient Chinese names customarily uses ancestral name and clan name instead and typically speaks of surnames only once the two merged into a single and commonly-employed family name.)
(third-person singular simple present surnames, present participle surnaming, simple past and past participle surnamed)
- To give a surname.
- To call by a surname.
From a variety of spellings in Middle English, from Norman and Old French surnom (“surname"), formed from Old French sur- ("super-"; earlier sor-, sour-, &c.) + nom (“name"), a calque of late Latin supernÅmen and suprÄnÅmen (“surname"), from Latin super- (“over, above, beyond") and nÅmen (“name").