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A person’s last name. A name which is added to the Christian name, and which, in modern times, have become family names. They are called surnames, because originally they were written over the name in judicial writings and contracts. They were and are still used for the purpose of distinguishing persons of the same name. They were taken from something attached to the persons assuming them, as John Carpenter, Joseph Black, Samuel Little etc.


 - n. A name or appellation which is added to, or over and above, the baptismal or Christian name, and becomes a family name. Surnames originally designated occupation, estate, place of residence, or some particular thing or event that related to the person; thus, Edmund Ironsides; Robert Smith, or the smith; William Turner. Surnames are often also patronymics; as, John Johnson. An appellation added to the original name; an agnomen. This word has been sometimes written sirname, as if it signified sire-name, or the name derived from one's father.


 - vb. To name or call by an appellation added to the original name; to give a surname to.


In the beginning, surnames were unknown. They 'were not considered ...

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