sur·​name | \ ˈsər-ˌnām How to pronounce surname (audio) \

Definition of surname

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an added name derived from occupation or other circumstance : nickname sense 1
2 : the name borne in common by members of a family


surnamed; surnaming; surnames

Definition of surname (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to give a surname to

Synonyms for surname

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of surname in a Sentence

Noun judging from your surname, I'd guess that your family is Italian “da Vinci” was Leonardo's surname but not his family name, Vinci being the town near Florence where the great artist was born
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Miles carries his mother’s surname Morales, highlighting his Puerto Rican heritage and freeing him of the burden of his father’s, Jefferson Davis, criminal past. Richard Newby, The Hollywood Reporter, 1 July 2022 An article on Thursday about the difficulty of adapting Jane Austen for plays, television, movies and other novels misspelled the surname of an author. New York Times, 23 July 2022 But Ivana Trump kept her ex-husband's surname and supported his presidential candidacy. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, 15 July 2022 Aesop, then still Mark Ross, found himself again in music while pushing farther east to Asia, and decided to forgo his surname. Gary Baum, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 July 2022 Alibaba fired the male manager, known only by his surname Wang, and sought to bring in corporate rules defusing China’s after-hours corporate drinking culture. Patrick Frater, Variety, 23 June 2022 The Gurnah family lost the large store emblazoned with their surname in Zanzibar Town, the island’s capital, and sent both sons, Abdulrazak and Ahmed, to England. Nadifa Mohamed, Harper’s Magazine , 22 June 2022 Golda Meir got teary during the Jerusalem premiere!), as well as the common misperception that, because of his surname, Jewison must be Jewish. Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times, 4 May 2022 An article on Page 28 about the push to diversify the book business misspells the surname of a writer. New York Times, 26 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'surname.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of surname


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for surname

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The first known use of surname was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near surname




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Statistics for surname

Last Updated

7 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Surname.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for surname


sur·​name | \ ˈsər-ˌnām How to pronounce surname (audio) \

Kids Definition of surname

: the name that comes at the end of someone's full name James Smith's surname is Smith.

More from Merriam-Webster on surname

Nglish: Translation of surname for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of surname for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about surname


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