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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
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 Throughout the impeachment inquiry, aides and allies have counseled to Trump to stay above the vicious battles over impeachment and leave the partisan brawling to surrogates. David Jackson, USA TODAY, "Trump’s effort to rise above impeachment fray thrown off course on chaotic NATO trip," 5 Dec. 2019 In response, all hanging surrogates and large cloths were removed from the cages., "official complaint against the school on Nov. 30," 3 Dec. 2019 But presidents always played it that way, with surrogates making end runs around the foreign policy bureaucracy in Washington. John Kass,, "Column: Adam Schiff plays the hero in Trump Impeachment Theater farce," 14 Nov. 2019 Sanders has allied with surrogates like Linda Sarsour, an activist, and Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan congresswoman, who are harshly critical of Israel — not just because of its policies, but of its status as a Jewish state. Ron Kampeas,, "Bernie Sanders writes essay on anti-Semitism for Jewish publication," 12 Nov. 2019 And in backing Warren, Pressley — who ran as an insurgent progressive to oust a longtime Democratic congressman during the 2018 primary — not only embraces a fellow Massachusetts lawmaker, but could act as a prominent black surrogate on the trail. Ali Vitali, NBC News, "Ayanna Pressley endorses Elizabeth Warren for president, splitting with rest of 'the squad'," 6 Nov. 2019 High-profile surrogates have often filed for sitting incumbent presidents in past cycles. Fox News, "New Hampshire primary gets real as candidates flock to file before deadline: Surprises in store?," 30 Oct. 2019 But, if the patient is deemed incapable of making that decision, DNRs can be signed by guardians or other legal surrogates. Monivette Cordeiro,, "Florida guardians must get court approval for DNRs under proposed legislation," 16 Oct. 2019 As soon as the trailer finishes, the player leaps out of the black hole, assuming the role of Jonesy, one of the default characters who's become the audience surrogate for the nonsense that happens in the Fortnite universe. cleveland, "Fortnite is live again with a new map and more ways to level up," 15 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about surrogate

Time Traveler for surrogate

Time Traveler

The first known use of surrogate was in 1533

See more words from the same year

Statistics for surrogate

Last Updated

24 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Surrogate.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


contradictory or incongruous words

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!