Posted by R. Berg on May 18, 2003

In Reply to: Surname posted by Lotg on May 17, 2003

: While I'm thinking of names, why is a 'surname' so named? Is the 'sur' from the French, which as I vaguely recall means 'on' - as in on top, as in 'Sur la Point D'Avignon'?

: The reason for the term 'maiden name', seems reasonably obvious.

A surname was originally added to a person's only (baptismal) name; it then became a family name. The prefix "sur-" has the meaning here of extra or additional, as in "surtax."