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

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 Nina Turner, a former surrogate for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, filed her intent to run for Congress in Ohio's 11th District on Wednesday, Federal Elections Committee records show. Spencer Neale, Washington Examiner, "Nina Turner files for congressional bid in Ohio, FEC records show," 9 Dec. 2020 He is not expected to spend much time traveling to early nominating states such as Iowa and New Hampshire or supporting down-ballot Republican candidates with money and surrogate appearances, these people said. Philip Rucker, Star Tribune, "Trump privately plots his next act — including a potential 2024 run," 21 Nov. 2020 There, every woman over the age of 25 in our social circles took it upon herself to act as my surrogate older sister, including one who saw no problem with reading my then-confidential diary. Alexis Okeowo, Vogue, "Family Values: An Ode to Aunties and Their Inimitable Sense of Style," 19 Nov. 2020 My husband, a 2016 Bernie surrogate, could not persuade her to change her allegiance. Sue Halpern, The New Yorker, "What My Ninety-Two-Year-Old Mother and Her Cohort Have Taught Us This Election," 13 Nov. 2020 Abrams, the former Georgia gubernatorial candidate, attended Spelman College in Atlanta and Keisha Lance Bottoms, the Atlanta Mayor and a surrogate for the Biden-Harris campaign, went to Florida A&M University. Nicole Chavez, CNN, "An HBCU grad galvanized voters in Georgia and another one is making history as vice president-elect," 10 Nov. 2020 Brendan Reilly, a surrogate for Harris' running mate Joe Biden, revolted from his party to endorse Foxx’s GOP challenger, Patrick O’Brien. Alice Yin,, "Kamala Harris pitches ‘Kim Foxx is smart on crime’ message in robocall to Cook County residents," 28 Oct. 2020 In the months leading up to the 2020 presidential election, the spokesman-and-surrogate smackdown has become a popular cable-news ritual. Washington Post, "‘Stop doing that, or this interview will end’: How the smackdown took over cable news in 2020," 27 Oct. 2020 Loving enthusiastically volunteered to be the surrogate. Wyatte Grantham-philips, USA TODAY, "'Defying the odds': 51-year-old woman gives birth to her own granddaughter," 12 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Gabriel is Milton’s high school teammate from Hawaii and surrogate little brother who, coincidentally, got his first start at Mililani High School in Honolulu after Milton was injured during his senior season. Mike Bianchi,, "McKenzie Milton loves UCF so much, he’s leaving for the good of the program | Commentary," 3 Dec. 2020 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

9 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Surrogate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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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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