sur·ro·gate | \ ˈsər-ə-ˌgāt , ˈsə-rə- \
surrogated; surrogating

Definition of surrogate 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to put in the place of another:

a : to appoint as successor, deputy, or substitute for oneself

b : substitute


noun, often attributive
sur·ro·gate | \ ˈsər-ə-ˌgāt , ˈsə-rə- , -gət \

Definition of surrogate (Entry 2 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

2 : one that serves as a substitute

Examples of surrogate in a Sentence


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

Handmaids — women assigned to high ranking, infertile married couples and forced to act as surrogates for their children — are raped, beaten, and generally mistreated at will., "The Handmaid's Tale Still Has A White Female Privilege Problem," 11 July 2018 Most likely the surrogate would be a southern white rhino, another subspecies, which has a longer horn, more hair and some 21,000 members still living in southern Africa. Daniel Fernandez, Smithsonian, "Can the Northern White Rhino Be Brought Back From the Brink of Extinction?," 22 May 2018 Between days 60 and 70, the surrogate is checked again. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, "Breeding For The Next Great Cow," 13 Mar. 2018 Whether your national team made the cut or you're forced to root for a surrogate, things are about to get heated. Kat Bein, Billboard, "The 10 Best Songs About Soccer," 19 June 2018 In animated interludes, Daniel serves as Rogers’s surrogate, a sometimes somber, sometimes jubilant inhabitant of a gloomy room empty except for a tiny bed. Peter Keough,, "‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ is an invitation not to be passed up," 31 May 2018 Back when Westworld creator-sibling Christopher Nolan’s Inception came out, critics noted how Ellen Page’s character served, clunkily, as a mere audience surrogate, quizzing the other characters about what was going on in every scene. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Westworld and the Question of Immortality," 13 May 2018 Attacks take the focus away from Evans’ Martin Luther King Jr. blackface adventure, problematic campaign surrogates, past cozy relationship with the National Rifle Association and claims of ethics violations. Jason Johnson, The Root, "When White Politicians Profit Off Black Pain and Then Go Begging for Black Votes: Georgia Edition," 9 May 2018 The idea spread quickly, with Trump surrogates amplifying the message, just the way Trump intended. Annie Linskey,, "President Trump’s racially charged words dovetail with harsh policies," 9 July 2018

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


1533, in the meaning defined above


1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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


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

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Time Traveler for surrogate

The first known use of surrogate was in 1533

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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 \

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

c : surrogate mother


sur·ro·gate | \ ˈsər-ə-gət \

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

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