From a variety of spellings in Middle English, from Anglo-Norman and Old French surnom (“surname”), formed from Old French sur- ("super-"; earlier sor-, sour-, etc.) + nom (“name”), a calque of late Latin supernōmen and suprānōmen (“surname”), from Latin super- (“over, above, beyond”) and nōmen (“name”).
surname (plural surnames)
- (obsolete) An additional name, particularly those derived from a birthplace, quality, or achievement; an epithet.
- c. 1330, Arthour and Merlin, 5488:
- 1526, Tyndale's Bible, Acts I 23:
- Barsabas (whose syrname was Iustus).
- 1590, Richard Harvey, Plaine Percevall the peace-maker of England, Sweetly indeuoring with his blunt persuasions to botch vp a reconciliation between Mar-ton and Mar-tother, B3:
- My sirname is Peace-Maker, one that is but poorely regarded in England.
- c. 1607, William Shakespeare, Coriolanus, V iii 171:
- (obsolete) An additional name given to a person, place, or thing; a byname or nickname.
- The name a person shares with other members of that person's family, distinguished from that person's given name or names; a family name.
- 1393, William Langland, Piers Plowman, C iv 369:
- 1605, William Camden, Remaines, I 32:
- 1876, E. A. Freeman, The History of the Norman Conquest, V xxv 563:
- The Norman Conquest...brought with it the novelty of family nomenclature, that is to say, the use of hereditary surnames.
- (Classical studies) The cognomen of Roman names.
- (Scotland, obsolete) A clan.
The term "surname" may be used to translate terms from non-English names which carry additional shades of meaning, most notably in the case of Roman cognomens. In fact, the nomen was the surname as the word is commonly understood today but the terms were first applied when surname was still used in the sense of "additional" or "added" name: the cognomen was added to the nomen to show the branch of the family involved. (The modern translation of a similar distinction in ancient Chinese names customarily uses ancestral name and clan name instead and typically speaks of surnames only once the two merged into a single and commonly-employed family name.)
- epithet (additional descriptive name)
- nickname, sobriquet, byname (additional name)
- family name, last name, to-name (hereditary name denoting one's family)
- See also Wikisaurus:surname
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.
- adoption name
- bride’s name
- Christian name
- confirmation name
- first name
- given name
- maiden name
- middle name
- personal name
- Wikipedia article on name changes
- Wiktionary appendix of surnames
- To give a surname.
- To call by a surname.