Meaning of surname in English:


Pronunciation /ˈsəːneɪm/

See synonyms for surname

Translate surname into Spanish


  • 1A hereditary name common to all members of a family, as distinct from a forename or given name.

    ‘he changed his surname from Kaye to Kasmin’
    • ‘At least half of them share the same surname.’
    • ‘He never uses his real surname and does not intend to do so.’
    • ‘For instance, quite different Irish surnames seem to have dominated Philadelphia.’
    • ‘She's the daughter of a rich white businessman with a hyphenated surname.’
    • ‘Generally, though, I have no problem with children having the father's surname.’
    • ‘He had refused to stick with his father's surname when his parents got divorced.’
    • ‘Initially, a child is almost always given his father's surname.’
    • ‘By my rough count, 64 of the 525 possessed Hispanic surnames.’
    • ‘Most villages employed a smith and it became the most common surname in England.’
    • ‘The most common surname, not surprisingly, is Smith, with 165,000 listed.’
    • ‘Most people referred to him as such because they were unable to pronounce his surname.’
    • ‘I knew he was proud to say it because it was his mother's surname.’
    • ‘People usually use both their father's and their mother's surnames, in that order.’
    • ‘They were only known by their surnames and their husbands' surnames.’
    • ‘About 1,000 years ago, surnames began to evolve as a hereditary means of identifying people.’
    • ‘His first cousin is the town clerk, and his surname appears on the local Civil War monument.’
    family name, last name, patronymic
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 archaic A name, title, or epithet added to a person's name, especially one indicating their birthplace or a particular quality or achievement.
      ‘Simeon of the pillar, by surname Stylites’
      • ‘Not long after their arrival there, Mateo was referred to by another title - his surname changed from Ortega to DiBaena, in reference to their home town.’


[with object]
  • Give a surname to.

    ‘Eddie Penham, so aptly surnamed, had produced a hand-painted sign for us’
    • ‘One citizen, surnamed Xie, said he was driving along Hutai Lu at midnight on December 10 last year and stopped at a red light.’
    • ‘A man in his 50s surnamed Wang spent three days in one agency.’
    • ‘One of the two victims, a man surnamed Jin, was rescued.’
    • ‘The first in line, a boy surnamed Ip, said he got there at 7am.’
    • ‘The patient, a 31-year-old researcher surnamed Yang, had worked at the lab.’
    • ‘In 1995, the hospital gave the woman surnamed Ren a transfusion, after she lost a large amount of blood during childbirth.’
    • ‘A man surnamed Wang planned to fly from Shanghai to Cairo on September 13 and booked the ticket more than two weeks in advance.’
    • ‘The cruel neighbour, surnamed Hao, did not regret his actions.’
    • ‘‘It is common sense to get vaccinated if you are bitten by a dog,’ said a local woman surnamed Min.’
    • ‘A woman surnamed Chen in her 40s said she always suffered from a headache after a prolonged shopping expedition.’
    • ‘The retired man surnamed Chen entered his home on August 12 to hear the sound of his daughter's mobile phone ringing.’
    • ‘Compared with Wang, another student surnamed Peng is even luckier.’
    • ‘A little over 10 years ago, this island was rented by two brothers surnamed Yang from Xiangshan County.’
    • ‘The man I followed was surnamed Hudao and he was always very cheerful.’
    • ‘The student surnamed Zhang decided to postpone employment for a few years by taking up post-graduate studies.’
    • ‘On Monday afternoon, a patient surnamed Wang was told by a woman who claimed to be the doctor on duty that he should have an operation at once.’
    • ‘A neighbour surnamed Xie called the police, who then evacuated all residents in the building and sealed off the area.’
    • ‘The writer, a real estate expert surnamed Lou, said people should take more care before making such purchases.’
    • ‘According to a survivor surnamed Liu, who was then shopping on the second floor, there was no fire alarm in the building.’
    • ‘An old man surnamed Zhang who bought seven chairs on special offer said he hadn't imagined finding so many customers.’


Middle English partial translation of Anglo-Norman French surnoun, suggested by medieval Latin supernomen.