An example of a surname is Smith when the person's full name is John Smith.
- the family name, or last name, as distinguished from a given name
- a name or epithet added to a person's given name (Ex.: Ivan the Terrible)
Origin of surnameMiddle English from sur- (see sur-) + name, influenced, influence by earlier surnoun from Old French surnom from sur- + nom from Classical Latin nomen, name
transitive verb-·named·, -·nam·ing
- A name shared in common to identify the members of a family, as distinguished from each member's given name. Also called family name . Also called last name .
- A nickname or epithet added to a person's name.
transitive verbsur·named, sur·nam·ing, sur·names
Origin of surnameMiddle English partial translation of Old French surnom sur- sur- nom name
- 1526, Tyndale's Bible, Acts I"‰23
- Barsabas (whose syrname was Iustus).
- 1590, Richard Harvey, Plaine Percevall the peace-maker of England, Sweetly indeuoring with his blunt persuasions to botch vp a reconciliation between Mar-ton and Mar-tother, B3
- My sirname is Peace-Maker, one that is but poorely regarded in England.
- c."‰1607, William Shakespeare, Coriolanus, V"‰iii"‰171
- 1638, Abraham Cowley, Davideis, IV
- I have before declared that Baal was the Sun, and Baal Peor, a sirname, from a particular place of his worship.
- The name a person shares with other members of that person's family, distinguished from that person's given name or names; a family name
- (Classical studies) The cognomen of Roman names.
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").