1. A name shared in common to identify the members of a family, as distinguished from each member's given name. Also called family name, last name.
2. A nickname or epithet added to a person's name.
tr.v. sur·named, sur·nam·ing, sur·names
To give a surname to.
[Middle English, partial translation of Old French surnom : sur-, sur- + nom, name.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.