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


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 two welcomed the baby boy via surrogate on May 9. Dave Quinn,, "Kim Kardashian West Calls 3-Month-Old Son Psalm ‘the Sweetest Baby Ever’ and Shares Cuddly Photo," 26 Aug. 2019 It was filed on behalf of Derek Mize and Jonathan Gregg, whose daughter Simone was born in England in July 2018 via surrogate. NBC News, "Gay couple sues over U.S. refusal to recognize child as citizen," 24 July 2019 Scientists hope to bring northern white rhinos back from the brink by using southern females as surrogates. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Artificially Conceived Southern White Rhino Offers Hope for Critically Endangered Cousin," 1 Aug. 2019 Scientists say the southern white rhinos will be serving as surrogates for northern white rhino embryos. NBC News, "Rhino born at San Diego zoo, marking key step in protecting threatened species," 30 July 2019 The golf courses are predominantly run by Eric and Donald Trump Jr., who did not take administration jobs but plan to reprise their 2016 roles as campaign surrogates for their father’s upcoming re-election bid. Washington Post, "Trump, Irish prime minister differ on Brexit, meeting venue," 6 June 2019 The embryo is then placed into a surrogate for gestation. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, "State of Science: Are the First Primate Clones Just the Beginning?," 1 Jan. 2019 Kris and Kourtney both offered themselves up as surrogates later on the show. Elyse Roth, Redbook, "Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Took Their Kids On a Totally Normal Family Trip to Disneyland," 23 May 2017 In an inverted way, ASMR videos are like private, virtual cuddle parties — surrogates for connection. Annie Vainshtein,, "Everything you ever wanted to know about ASMR," 27 June 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

The first known use of surrogate was in 1533

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More Definitions for surrogate



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

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