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family name

the hereditary surname of a family.
a given name frequently used in a family.
1690-1700 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for family name
  • If potential new leaders are easy to identify, it is usually because of their family name or record of political struggle.
  • Her family name was familiar to me, but the story was not.
  • Always state your family name and the name of the meeting.
British Dictionary definitions for family name

family name

a surname, esp when regarded as representing the family honour
a first or middle name frequently used in a family, often originally a surname
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Encyclopedia Article for family name

name added to a "given" name, in many cases inherited and held in common by members of a family. Originally, many surnames identified a person by his connection with another person, usually his father (Johnson, MacDonald); others gave his residence (Orleans, York, Atwood [i.e., living at the woods]) or occupation (Weaver, Hooper, Taylor). A surname could also be descriptive of a person's appearance (Little, Red) or his exploits (Armstrong).

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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