A surname is most commonly defined as a synonym for last name or family name in English.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

10
votes
3answers
198 views

Why is the surname Gray more common than the surname Grey in the UK?

An EL&U question from 2010 asks Which is the correct spelling: "grey" or "gray"? The answers very sensibly point out the split between the UK and former British commonwealth ...
3
votes
1answer
97 views

Did “brushwoodsmen” exist?

While talking to someone about surnames and ties to various jobs in the past ("Coopers" worked on barrels, "Smiths" made things, etc.) I asked about "Brushwood". He said that name tied to ...
3
votes
1answer
86 views

Initial capitalization of foreign surnames when starting a sentence

In the book, "The Crystal Shard," by R.A. Salvatore, a character is surnamed "de Bernezan." Which of the following complete sentences uses the correct English-language capitalization: de Bernezan ...
2
votes
1answer
77 views

Zero Article in Family Names

This is from an article in a recent issue of Time magazine: "Barbara Bush has said on several occasions that she suspects Americans are tired of Bushes even as she asserts that Jeb would be the best ...
1
vote
2answers
484 views

How to refer to a 'second' last name or family name?

I know in most english speaking countries, there's no such a thing like a "second" last name. But for example in spanish it's quite common (we are fond of long a complicated names lol), our full names ...
2
votes
2answers
93 views

What is the 'last_name, first_name' format called?

Is there a name for the format of listing names by 'Last name, first name'? For example, how names were listed in phone books when those existed. Ex: this list of names is sorted (blank style): ...
1
vote
1answer
876 views

Proper address for married couple when husband is a Jr

I have been unable to find a complete answer to my question in any source I have consulted. I want to make a donation in memory of my deceased parents. I would like to use both of their first names ...
0
votes
1answer
52 views

What is the term for using an ancestral given name as a surname?

This is NOT a question about people who have surnames that are usually found as given names, such as Rand Paul. My question relates to the process of Americanization of surnames. For example, I have ...
-2
votes
1answer
136 views

Can anyone come up with two names whose pronunciations are respectively same as “who” and “how”? [closed]

I would like to find out occidental names whose pronunciation are close to my names in my native language. The first name and second name contain preferably only Latin alphabet. In order to state the ...
2
votes
2answers
581 views

How does one address a blended family in which the members have different surnames?

I am confused about how to address a family in which all the members have kept their original surname. What is the proper way to address such a family in a note to a family which consists of a single ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

First name or last name with “Sir”

If my teacher's first name is Robert and his last name is Dowry, and I have to send him an email, then which of the following will be correct? Dear Sir Dowry, Dear Sir Robert, Dear Sir ...
0
votes
1answer
105 views

Referring to people by surname [closed]

I notice that there is a tradition in English of shortening names by omitting given names, which has been formalized in contexts like academia (the theorem of Gauss, the textbook by Young and Geller, ...
0
votes
1answer
556 views

What is the meaning and origin of the suffix “-son”? [closed]

A friend recently asked me the meaning of the name Madison. Although I wasn’t sure of the meaning of Madison, it prompted a discussion about the suffix ‑son, seen in a lot of names: Jefferson, ...
1
vote
2answers
155 views

Is it acceptable to drop the Jr. suffix in a citation?

I want to cite a book written by John P. Smith, Jr. Should I write see Smith [2009] for details. or see Smith, Jr. [2009] for details. I think my question boils down to: is his surname ...
5
votes
1answer
185 views

Etymology of the name “Stimpson”

An Irish-Canadian poet told me that my last name, Stimpson, comes from glimpse. What is the actual etymology of the proper name and the common noun? Are they related? When did they first appear in ...
3
votes
2answers
215 views

How to abbreviate “deLuze” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How would you abbreviate surnames starting with Mc/O/D? How would I abbreviate Jane deLuze? If I were listing a numbe of people by initials, like John Doe or John ...
-1
votes
2answers
714 views

When listing just a last name would it be “Name, Jr.” or “Name Jr”? [closed]

When listing names by just a last name, which is correct: Surname, Jr. Surname Jr. I'd like to know if the comma is required in this context or not.
7
votes
2answers
600 views

When does the name prefix “Mc” take stress?

Mc (or Mac) is often used as a prefix in Gaelic-derived names. In one class containing most such names, prefixing Mc does not affect the position of the accent somewhere on the base name. Thus Mc is ...
2
votes
0answers
126 views

How to handle the possessive case of the name Franks [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the correct possessive for nouns ending in s? When did it become correct to add an 's' to a singular possessive already ending in 's'? Hey guys ...
5
votes
7answers
1k views

Are all English surnames-made-first-names masculine?

This may not be an English language question, but I've always wondered. In Sweden, it is very unusual to have surnames that can also be used straight up as first names. In fact, I can think of no such ...
2
votes
2answers
335 views

Apostrophe after a surname

There is a lot of statistical criteria/tests (statistics) named after a statistician/mathematician/biologist/economist, etc. But for instance, this and this examples have different spelling... Do I ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Confusion over “family name” in English: What about double-barrelled last names? [closed]

How do you fill out an official form in English that asks for just one last name when you instead have a surname which comprises more than one word? I currently live in a Latin country, where we ...
9
votes
1answer
766 views

What is the origin of surnames based on color?

I understand the background of names such as Baker, Carver and Hammer but, what are the origins of names such as Black, Blue, Brown, Green and White? Are they based on some common structure or do they ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the “Ap” in the surname “ApSimon”?

There are two questions here (1,2) concerning names with “Mc” in them (such as McGregor), revealing that Mc comes from Mac, which is Gaelic for “son of”. I have now come across the last name ApSimon. ...
7
votes
2answers
394 views

Why is the Dostoyevsky novel “The Brothers Karamazov” not translated “The Karamazov Brothers”?

In most cases I would say that the family name should come first, as in "the Ringling Brothers circus" or "the Bronte sisters", but then there is the Dostoyevsky novel "The Brothers Karamazov". Why ...
10
votes
4answers
7k views

How would you abbreviate surnames starting with Mc/O/D?

On my sport team, when we communicate we would like to use first name plus initial last name initial, e.g. John S. for John Smith, however I always wonder how I should abbreviate some of the Gaelic / ...