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 Chicago was born via surrogate at 12:47 a.m. on Jan. 15, 2018, weighing 7 lbs., 6 oz. Nicholas Rice,, 15 Jan. 2022 Both Chicago and Psalm were born via surrogate after Kardashian suffered through pregnancy complications including preeclampsia and was forced to give birth to Saint at only 34 weeks. Aimée Lutkin, ELLE, 15 Jan. 2022 Churchill Downs has deemed that any horse trained by Baffert or a surrogate is ineligible for Kentucky Derby qualifying points. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, 1 Jan. 2022 Batman will have to balance being perpetually pissed off by the Riddler and annoyed by the Penguin with a burgeoning flirtation with Zoë Kravitz’s Catwoman and whole surrogate dad with Andy Serkis — mo-cap free! — as Alfred. Rebecca Alter, Vulture, 16 Oct. 2021 The districts’ most influential surrogate is Fred Finlinson, a Republican who spent 20 years in the state Senate before leaving to lobby his former colleagues. The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 Dec. 2021 The districts’ most influential surrogate is Fred Finlinson, a Republican who spent 20 years in the state Senate before leaving to lobby his former colleagues. Mark Olalde, ProPublica, 16 Dec. 2021 Jones is a former Democratic state representative who switched to the GOP last year after serving as a leading Black surrogate and supporter in Georgia of former President Trump’s reelection campaign. Paul Steinhauser, Fox News, 8 Dec. 2021 Graham, 34, is expecting fraternal twin boys with husband Justin Ervin, while Bass, 42, welcomed boy-girl twins named Violet and Alexander via surrogate with husband Michael Turchin in October. Olivia Jakiel,, 7 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Top Sanders surrogate Nina Turner, a former Ohio state senator, is running against Shontel Brown, the local Democratic Party chairwoman who is endorsed by Clinton. Gabriel T. Rubin, WSJ, 18 June 2021 Bush was a supporter of — and surrogate for — his dad when Jeb Bush famously clashed with Trump in the 2016 primary. Patrick Svitek, San Antonio Express-News, 19 May 2021 When prospective parents visit a fertility clinic for IVF treatment, the clinic retrieves enough eggs and sperm to create several embryos, and only a few of those will end up in the hopeful mother’s (or surrogate’s) uterus. Kiona N. Smith, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2021 On October 8, Pate visited the Dally farm to witness the embryos’ transfer to surrogate Gotland ewes. Michael Alberty | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 6 Mar. 2021 The campaign also created a Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force on climate, with Ocasio-Cortez as co-chair and Varshini Prakash, co-founder and executive director of the Sunrise Movement, serving as the Sanders surrogate. Mari Uyehara, The New Republic, 18 Jan. 2021 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,, 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, 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, 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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Dictionary Entries Near surrogate



surrogate mother

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Statistics for surrogate

Last Updated

21 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Surrogate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.

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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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