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


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

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

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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: Verb 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Florida Democrats have trained 150 Spanish-speaking surrogates influential in Hispanic media and created a legislative affairs group of Puerto Ricans focusing on rebuilding the island after Hurricane Maria. Adriana Gomez Licon, USA TODAY, "In pursuit of Florida Latinos, Democrats fight socialist tag," 31 Dec. 2019 RHOA‘s Kandi Burruss Is Expecting Her Third Child via Surrogate Days after PEOPLE confirmed Burruss and her husband Todd Tucker had welcomed their second child via surrogate, the reality star shared the first photos of their newborn on social media. Jen Juneau,, "RHOA's Kandi Burruss Shares First Photo of 1-Month-Old Daughter Blaze's Face: 'Another Blessing'," 20 Dec. 2019 The process will use plasticine, basically children's modeling clay, as a hot metal surrogate. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "How Robotic Blacksmithing Could Change Manufacturing Forever," 12 Dec. 2019 That means there'll be three debates in the space of four days at the end of the month -- though some of the major parties may decide to send a surrogate to one of them. Rob Picheta, CNN, "Everything you need to know about the first UK election debate," 19 Nov. 2019 Former congressman and Trump surrogate Sean Duffy said Lt. Toluse Olorunnipa, Anchorage Daily News, "Competing messages over Trump impeachment inquiry reflect tensions in GOP," 30 Oct. 2019 Attempts by Trump surrogates to turn the scandal against Biden also backfired. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Trump’s Defense Is Not Ready for Prime Time," 30 Sep. 2019 In the Yoruba culture, twins are considered good luck, so if a twin died, small twin surrogates (ibejis) were made to ward off bad luck. Susan Dunne,, "UConn’s Benton museum infused with spirit of Africa," 26 Aug. 2019 That’s especially true for Markey, who doesn’t have the same national fund-raising network that Kennedy has spent the past several years building as a in-demand surrogate for Democrats around the country., "Schumer swoops in to boost Markey, as key cash deadline looms - The Boston Globe," 14 Dec. 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


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

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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

24 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Surrogate.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 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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Comments on surrogate

What made you want to look up surrogate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to insert between existing elements

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