Definition of surrogate in US English:



  • 1A substitute, especially a person deputizing for another in a specific role or office.

    ‘she served as a surrogate for the President on a trip to South America’
    • ‘Not quite useful as measurements of scale, they could be understood to serve as surrogates for her own presence in the cinema of daily life.’
    • ‘The sequence-structure distance can be interpreted as a surrogate for the difference in energies between an ancestral and a descendant protein.’
    • ‘People tend to project disgust properties onto groups of people in their own society who come to figure as surrogates for people's anxieties about their own animality.’
    • ‘In representing American economic interests in the absence of a tangible American presence, Fort Union was a surrogate for federal authority.’
    • ‘Like language, these photographs are surrogates for reality, full of meaning but incomplete in and of themselves.’
    • ‘It's experts who can inspect, audit, and review, acting as surrogates for the importing party.’
    • ‘In an ordinary presidential election, the winner enjoys the right to call the shots on policy as the political surrogate for the electoral majority.’
    • ‘The use of personal anecdotes about a few hundred students and a secretary as surrogates for the world economy disappointed.’
    • ‘The road, both a participant in and a generator of vistas, becomes a surrogate for the human presence.’
    • ‘In addition, a modified version of the portfolio traveled to sixteen venues between 1935 and 1937, with the photographs serving as surrogates for the objects themselves.’
    • ‘In contrast to true surrogates, estimator surrogates have true surrogates as their intended objects of representation.’
    • ‘Some Balts hoped that, if and when they joined the EU, it would be a surrogate for a formal military alliance.’
    • ‘Explorers became the conventional heroes of colonial Australia, surrogates for the warriors Australia did not have.’
    • ‘Whereas estimator surrogates, they argue, are subject to empirical justification, true surrogates are still dependent on convention.’
    • ‘Before enrollment in the study, each patient or the patient's designated healthcare surrogate provided written informed consent.’
    • ‘Outcome surrogates must be carefully validated to avoid misleading results.’
    • ‘Using outcome surrogates can decrease both study duration and sample size.’
    • ‘Discuss the patient's need to make advance directives and to identify surrogates for medical and legal decision-making.’
    • ‘A written informed consent was obtained from patients' surrogates after describing the nature and the purpose of the study.’
    • ‘In contrast, in the local strategy, some biodiversity surrogates may not achieve their target.’
    substitute, proxy, replacement
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1
      ‘the guidelines clearly mention the rights of surrogates and prospective parents’
      ‘their daughter was born via surrogate on March 25th’
    2. 1.2 (in the Christian Church) a bishop's deputy who grants marriage licenses.
    3. 1.3 A judge in charge of probate, inheritance, and guardianship.


  • 1attributive Relating to the birth of a child or children by means of surrogacy.

    ‘paperwork that will allow them to move forward with the surrogate process’
    1. 1.1 Denoting a child to whom a woman gives birth as a surrogate mother.
      ‘she has given birth to three surrogate babies’


Early 17th century: from Latin surrogatus, past participle of surrogare ‘elect as a substitute’, from super- ‘over’ + rogare ‘ask’.