noun, often attributive
sur·​ro·​gate | \ ˈsər-ə-gət How to pronounce surrogate (audio) , ˈsə-rə-, -ˌgāt How to pronounce surrogate (audio) \

Definition of surrogate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : one appointed to act in place of another : deputy
b : a local judicial officer in some states (such as New York) who has jurisdiction over the probate of wills, the settlement of estates, and the appointment and supervision of guardians
3 : one that serves as a substitute


sur·​ro·​gate | \ ˈsər-ə-ˌgāt How to pronounce surrogate (audio) , ˈsə-rə- \
surrogated; surrogating

Definition of surrogate (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to put in the place of another:
a : to appoint as successor, deputy, or substitute for oneself

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Examples of surrogate in a Sentence

Noun He could not attend the meeting, so he sent his surrogate. The governor and her surrogates asked the public to support the change. They had their baby through a surrogate.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Trump campaign surrogate was pictured not wearing a mask at the president's Tulsa rally. Grace Segers, CBS News, "Tulsa health official says Trump rally "likely contributed" to spike in coronavirus cases," 9 July 2020 Stephanie's frank discussion of her fertility struggles in season 1 was a highlight, and seeing her bond with Kimmy when her former nemesis served as her surrogate gave season 4 an extra layer of emotion. Sabienna Bowman,, "The End Of Fuller House Was Cheesy & Predictable — Did You Expect Something Else?," 3 June 2020 Before then, in 2011, the heady early years of social media produced the theory that Beyoncé faked being pregnant with Blue Ivy to cover up use of a surrogate; the same speculation dogged Kim Kardashian’s second pregnancy in 2015. Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic, "How a Fake Baby Is Born," 13 July 2020 Okpara is also receiving similar training in case the infant chooses him to be the surrogate. Alaa Elassar, CNN, "A critically endangered gorilla is about to be a mom, and she's using a doll for practice," 11 July 2020 The surrogate for President Trump attended his June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "Daily Trail Markers: Trump and Biden spar over jobs report as COVID cases spike," 2 July 2020 Cain, an official surrogate for President Trump’s re-election campaign, has been receiving treatment at an Atlanta-area hospital since Wednesday, the statement says. Mahita Gajanan, Time, "Herman Cain Hospitalized After Testing Positive for Coronavirus," 2 July 2020 Viewers have another surrogate in Cam Samford (Jai Courtney), a young father who reluctantly takes a job as a guard at Barton to provide for his growing family. Kristen Baldwin,, "Yvonne Strahovski stuns in Netflix's detention drama Stateless: Review," 2 July 2020 From early on, Loving began considering the possibility of being a surrogate for her daughter and son-in-law. Washington Post, "A woman is infertile, so her mother is carrying her baby for her," 25 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Already, reports had emerged of parents traveling to Ukraine to pick up babies born to surrogate mothers, as the Straubs were doing, but being turned away at the border, leaving as many as 100 infants in legal limbo. NBC News, "WHO says asymptomatic spread of coronavirus is rare, contradicting CDC," 9 June 2020 Her memories are replete with references to surrogate grandmas and second mothers, godparents and godchildren, aunts and uncles, none of whom are related. Molly Ball, Time, "Kamala Harris Is Making Her Case. But Can She Stand Out in a Crowded Field?," 3 Oct. 2019

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

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First Known Use of surrogate


1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1533, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for surrogate


Latin surrogatus, past participle of surrogare to choose in place of another, substitute, from sub- + rogare to ask — more at right

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Time Traveler for surrogate

Time Traveler

The first known use of surrogate was in 1533

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Statistics for surrogate

Last Updated

31 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Surrogate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for surrogate


How to pronounce surrogate (audio) How to pronounce surrogate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of surrogate

: a person or thing that takes the place or performs the duties of someone or something else


sur·​ro·​gate | \ -gət, -ˌgāt How to pronounce surrogate (audio) \

Medical Definition of surrogate

: one that serves as a substitute: as
a : a representation of a person substituted through symbolizing (as in a dream) for conscious recognition of the person
b : a drug substituted for another drug


sur·​ro·​gate | \ ˈsər-ə-gət How to pronounce surrogate (audio) \

Legal Definition of surrogate

1 : one acting in the place of another especially : one standing in loco parentis to a child
2 often capitalized : the judge or judicial officer of a Surrogate's Court or Surrogate's office

Other Words from surrogate

surrogate adjective

History and Etymology for surrogate

Latin surrogatus, past participle of surrogare subrogare to substitute, from sub- in place of, under + rogare to ask

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