Saint Ignatius High School

Etymology Word of the Week

Director of Admissions Pat O'Rourke '90, a self-proclaimed "word nerd," brings you his Etymology Word of the Week. Every other week he presents an online Etymology lesson just for fun!

Etymology Word of the Week – As some of you know, in addition to working in the Admissions Office, I also teach Latin at Saint Ignatius and am something of a "word nerd."  Thus, each week, I’ll sneak a vocabulary word (sometimes derived from Latin, sometimes not) into the e-blast.  Here then is this week’s edition of the Etymology Word of the Week.  

Surname - “last name; family name; the name that a person has in common with other family members, as distinguished from a first name or given name.”  From the Latin preposition super (occasionally shortened to sur- when used as a prefix, as here) meaning “over, above” and the French noun nom meaning “name” which itself comes from the Latin noun nomen, also meaning “name.”  (All information is from, and/or

RELATED WORDS/PHRASES – surcharge, surface, surmise, surmount, surpass, surprise, surreal, surrender, surtax, surveillance, and even sirloin!

SAMPLE SENTENCE:  “This root word is not to be confused with the Spanish word Sur meaning “South,” as in Big Sur, California.”