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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

15
votes
2answers
1k views

Family name pluralization

When pluralizing family (last) names that also happen to be common English words, does the pluralization follow the same rules as the common word? For example, "the Smith family" can be pluralized as ...
10
votes
5answers
9k 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 / ...
22
votes
3answers
6k views

Etymology for “Mc‑” and “O’‑” prefix in surnames

There is clearly a prefix in names like McDonald, McChrystal, O’Brian, O’Neal. What does this Mc- and O- prefix signify? It looks like Donald, Chrystal, Brian, Neal are perfectly fine names on their ...
8
votes
3answers
9k views

Why is the letter after “Mc” in names capitalized?

For example, McDowell, or McDonald, or McKenna, etc. Is it necessary to capitalize that letter following "Mc"? And if yes, why is this so?
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
136 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, ...