Most Chinese surnames are “pinyin” romanization of common and popular Chinese surnames. A few of the surnames have a toponymic origin, while others may have their origin from clan names, dynasty names, or even occupation. In this MomJunction post, we present 100 common Chinese surnames or last names, along with their meanings.
List Of Common Chinese Surnames Or Family Names
A surname of Mongol origin, Bai, means “white.”
A popular Chinese surname, Cai has its name derived from “Cai,” an ancient Chinese state. The surname Cai also means “firewood.”
A common surname in China, Cao, means “to grasp something.”
It is a common surname in Xiamen (a port city situated on the Southeastern coast of China). Chen probably means to “exhibit,” or something “ancient or old.”
The surname Cheng is indicative of something “complete.” Cheng also refers to “order or regulation.” Some of the other meanings of Cheng include “journey,” “honesty,” and “procedure.”
A common surname in China, Cui, means “towering.”
The surname has its origin from a word which means, “to support.”
An East Asian surname with a Chinese origin, Deng, has a toponymic origin since it is derived from “the Deng Kingdom.”
The surname Ding refers to a “strong and powerful man.”
A popular Chinese surname, Dong refers to a “Mentor or one who supervises.”
The surname Du has its name derived from a word which means to “avert or prevent.”
An East Asian surname with Chinese origin, Duan, means “a part or section of something.”
A popular surname in China, Fan means “an example” or “a bee.”
The surname Fang has its name derived from a word that refers to “something that is four-sided or a square.”
One of the popular Chinese surnames, Feng has its origin from the city of Feng, situated in Wei state that existed during the Zhou Dynasty around the tenth century BC.
A Chinese surname (ancient Han) of imperial origin, the surname Fu was bestowed by “Dayou (one of the descendants of the Emperor Yellow)” to his son “Fu Yi” and his subsequent generations. The surname Fu refers to a “teacher or a guide.”
An East-Asian surname that has a Chinese origin, Gao, means something or someone “high or tall.”
The surname Gong has its origin from a word which means “to give.”
The Chinese surname Gu has its name derived from a word which means “to care for.”
A common Chinese surname, Guo, refers to the “wall surrounding a city.” The surname Guo has a toponymic origin and derives its name from “Guo,” a state that existed during the ancient Xia dynasty.
The surname Han has a toponymic origin and refers to an ancient state of Han, presently situated in the Henan and Shanxi provinces of China.
A common Chinese surname, He, has its origin from the “Ji clan of the Zhou Dynasty” and the “Jiang clan of Yandi.” In modern China, “He” forms the second character of the title “Xihe,” which means “an astrologer.”
The surname Hong refers to a “rainbow.” Hong also means to “expand,” or “something grand.”
A common Chinese surname, Hou, refers to a “Marquis.”
The surname Hu, either refers to “whiskers,” or “wild.” Hu also has an ornamental origin, whereby residents of the “Youhu” state during the Xia dynasty adopted the second character as their surname.”
A popular surname in China, Huang, means “Yellow.”
A surname with a toponymic origin, Jia, has its name derived from “Jia,” an ancient Chinese state, which is presently situated in the Shanxi province of China.
The surname Jiang has its origin from a word which means “wild rice.”
29. Jiang (alternative)
The surname Jiang means “ginger.”
The surname Jin has its origin from a word which means, “Gold.”
The surname Kang refers to a “healthy person.” Kang also means “well-being.”
The surname Ke refers to the “handle of an Axe.”
The surname Kong has its origin from the family name of “Confucius,” a popular Chinese politician and philosopher.
The Chinese surname Lai means “to trust or rely on someone or something.”
While the exact origin is not known, the surname Lei, probably means “thunder.”
36. Li or Lee
One of the most common surnames in China, the surname Li, means “reason or logic.” The surname Li also refers to “the plum tree.”
A common surname in China, Li, has its origin from a word meaning “multitude.”
38. Li (alternative)
The Chinese surname Li has its name derived from a word which means “to establish.”
An East Asian surname with Chinese origin, Liang, probably has a toponymic origin referring to the Liang state that existed between 771 to 476 BC. The surname Liang means “a bridge or a beam.”
The surname Lin probably has its origin from the late Shang Dynasty. The surname Lin means “a forest,” or “tall trees.”
A surname common among the Han dynasty rulers, Liu means “to destroy,” or “to kill.”
The surname Long probably has its origin from “Long,” the personal name of a treasurer who lived during King Shun’s reign. The surname Long means “a dragon.”
One of the common Chinese surnames, Lu, refers to a “cottage or a hut.”
44. Lu (alternative)
A common Chinese surname, Lu, has its name derived from a word which means “a musical note.”
The surname Luo has its origin from a word that refers to “bird-trapping net.” Luo probably has an occupational origin, referring to individuals involved in knitting the bird-trapping nets.
A common family name across China, the surname Ma, means “a horse.”
A surname with a toponymic origin, Mao, has its origin from “Mao,” an ancient Chinese area that existed during the Zhou dynasty, and presently situated in the Henan province. The surname Mao refers to “fur” or “feathers.”
The surname Meng denotes a clan name or represents a rank or seniority of a member within a certain family. The surname Meng means “first” or “one who is eminent.”
The surname Mo means “do not.”
The surname Pan has a toponymic origin, deriving its name from a river that flows into the River Han.
A popular Chinese surname, Peng refers to individuals who were the descendants of Peng Zu, a legendary figure that existed during the Shang dynasty.
The surname has its origin from “Qin,” the first dynasty that came into existence in Imperial China.
The Chinese surname Qiu means “hills.”
The surname means “to appoint.” It also refers to “Ren,” a city bestowed to Yu Yang, who is said to be the 25th son of King Huang Di.
The surname comes from “Ruan,” which is the name of a traditional Chinese musical instrument.
A popular Chinese surname, Shao, has its origin from the Zhou Dynasty. Shao also refers to “pottery.”
A popular Chinese surname, Shen, means “to sink.”
The surname Shi refers to a “stone.” It is also derived from a Chinese word, which means “to recognize.”
59. Shi (alternative)
A common surname in China, Shi, means, “to reproduce,” or “to establish.”
A surname common in China, Song, has its name derived from “Song,” which was a dynasty that ruled over China in ancient times.
The surname Su has its origin from “Su,” an ancient Chinese kingdom that existed during King Fu Xi’s reign.
The surname Sun refers to “a descendant” or “a grandchild.”
The surname Tan has its origin from “Tan,” an ancient Chinese state, presently situated in the Shandong province. Tan, in Chinese, means “to talk.”
A popular Chinese surname, Tang, has a toponymic origin, deriving its name from the Tang dynasty that ruled China between seventh to eighth century AD.
65. Tang (alternative)
A family name with its origin from various individuals of the Shang dynasty. Tang, means “soup” or “boiling water.”
A common surname in China, Tao, probably means “pottery.” It also means “to be pleased.”
This surname means “talk,” or “field.” Tian is derived from “Tan,” an ancient city presently situated in the Shandong province of China.
A surname with an interesting meaning, Wan, means “ten thousand.”
A popular surname across China, Wang, refers to “a monarch or a king.” Wang could also mean “a prince.”
70. Wang (alternative)
A common surname in China, Wang, means “sea.”
The surname Wei refers to soft leather.
72. Wei (alternative)
The surname Wei has its origin from “Wei,” an ancient Chinese city.
The surname Wen means “culture.” It also refers to a script or words.
The surname Wu has a toponymic origin and derives its name from “Wu,” an ancient Chinese state that existed during the Western Zhou dynasty.
75. Wu (alternative)
The surname Wu means “military.”
The surname Xia means “summer.” It could have been derived from the name of the Xia dynasty.
The surname Xiao has its name derived from the kingdom of Xiao in Anhui province. Xiao also means “quiet.”
The surname Xie refers to the “withering of leaves or flowers.” It also means “to thank or apologize to someone.”
It was originally a clan name that likely referred to the Xia, Shen, or the Xiang clans/families.
A popular Chinese surname, Xiong, means “bear.”
A popular surname in China, Xu means “slow.” The surname also means “calm.”
82. Xu (alternative)
The surname means “benefit.” Xu likely has an ornamental origin, adopted by a few “Manchu people” during the Qing Dynasty.
The surname Xue is derived from a word which means “Wormwood,” a therapeutic herb used to alleviate digestion problems.
A common surname in China, Yan, means “strict.” It also means “tight.”
A surname common among people in Mainland China, Yang, is the phonetic translation of a Chinese family name. The surname Yang means ” willow,” or “Aspen.”
One of the popular Chinese surnames, Yao, refers to the one who is “elegant.”
The surname Ye has its origin from “Ye,” a city in the Henan province. The surname Ye means a “leaf.”
The Chinese surname Yu means “rain or rainfall.”
89. Yu (alternative)
A popular Chinese surname, Yu, means “in excess or surplus.” The surname Yu also refers to “something pleasant.”
90. Yu (alternative)
The surname Yu refers to “precious gemstones.”
The surname Yuan refers to “a long dress or a robe.” Yuan could have its origin from the name of a noble family in Chen, an ancient Chinese state presently situated in the eastern Henan province.
The surname Zeng has its origin from Zeng, a state in China. The surname Zeng also refers to “the relationship between great-grandfather and great-grandson.”
A common surname in China, Zhang, refers to the “expansion/stretching of the bowstring.”
It is a surname popular among individuals in Mandarin-speaking regions of Mainland China. Zhao, probably refers to an ancient city that once existed in the region presently known as Shanxi province.
A popular Chinese surname, Zheng, has a toponymic origin referring to the ancient state of Zheng, presently in the Henan province.
A surname which means “bell,” Zhong, has its origin from “Zhongli,” an ancient Chinese state situated in the River Huai.
The surname Zhou has a toponymic origin and derives its name from the Zhou Dynasty. Zhou also refers to “a week” or “circumference.”
The surname Zhu has a toponymic origin, referring to “Zhu (Zhulou),” an ancient Chinese state during the reign of the Zhou Dynasty. Zhu also refers to “crimson.”
The surname may have an occupational origin referring to either a “banker.” The surname Zhuang also has its name derived from a word which could either mean “a farmstead,” or “a place of business.”
A name with a toponymic origin, Zou has its name derived from “Zou,” an ancient Chinese state during the Zhou dynasty.
Chinese often write surnames before first names when writing names in traditional Chinese language. Many surnames have been lost or extensively simplified during the rules of various dynasties across centuries. It is fascinating though how some surnames have survived the test of time and continued to be used even today.
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What is this? The rarest Chinese last name to make to this list of 'top 100' seems to be '通过 Tōngguò' meaning 'by' if you go by the usage statistic. Going by the oldest one in use according to the ancient Chinese last names record, it would be 贶 Kuàng meaning 'bestow'.What is the oldest Chinese surname? ›
According to ancient documents, the earliest surname in China was "Feng", and the earliest surnames were "Fuxi", "Shennong", "Nuwa's" and so on. The most commonly used ones in China are "Li", "Wang", "Zhang", "Liu", "Chen", "Yang" and so on. 100 common surnames, accounting for about 85% of China's total population.What are some cool Chinese last names? ›
- Au. Au is a shortest topographic surname, which means 'water meadow' or 'Stream'.
- Bai. Bai is a common Mongolian surname which means 'White'.
- Cai. ...
- Cao. ...
- Cui. ...
- Cheng. ...
- Chen. ...
|Rank||Boy Names||Girl Names|
|1||沐宸 (Mùchén): 22,958||若汐 (Ruòxī): 18,293|
|2||浩宇 (Hàoyǔ): 15,722||一诺 (Yīnuò): 16,884|
|3||沐辰 (Mùchén): 15,660||艺涵 (Yìhán): 15,388|
|4||茗泽 (Míngzé): 13,175||依诺 (Yīnuò): 15,208|
A report in 2019 gives the most common Chinese surnames as Wang and Li, each shared by over 100 million people in China. The remaining top ten most common Chinese surnames are Zhang, Liu, Chen, Yang, Huang, Zhao, Wu and Zhou.Is King a Chinese last name? ›
King is a common last name found among Overseas Chinese communities around the world. In fact, "King" is the transliteration of several different Chinese surnames. Its meaning varies depending on how it is spelled in Chinese, and which dialect it is pronounced in.How do I find out my Chinese name? ›
- Use a Chinese name tool. ...
- Ask a friend or Chinese tutor to name you. ...
- Rename yourself. ...
- Say 很高兴认识您 (Hěn gāoxìng rènshi nín) — Nice to meet you. ...
- Use 您 (nín) instead of 你 (nǐ) ...
- Say your last name before your first name. ...
- Ask 您贵姓 (nín guì xìng) when asking someone their name.
Yu (Chinese: 余; pinyin: Yú) is one of the Chinese family names. It is listed as the 90th surname in the "Hundred Family Surnames". It is also sometimes translated to Yee, the Taishanese spelling, in English. The name is transliterated as Dư in Vietnamese but is very rare in Vietnam.Is Xiao a surname? ›
Xiao (/ʃaʊ/; Chinese: 蕭) is a Chinese surname. In the Wade-Giles system of romanization, it is rendered as Hsiao, which is commonly used in Taiwan.Is Xin a surname? ›
Xin (Wade–Giles: Hsin) is the romanization of several Chinese surnames including Xīn 辛, Xīn 新 and Xìn 信, etc. Xīn 辛 is the most common one among these names, it is 379th surname in Hundred Family Surnames.
力 [Li] Meaning: power, force, strength, ability, strenuously. Dialects : Mandarin. Explore 力 Li meaning & origins.How common is XI last name? ›
According to the website Forebears, Xi is the 708th most common surname in the world with 774,021 holders. The surname Mu, on the other hand, is the 527th most common in the world with 1,028,966 people bearing it.Do all Chinese names have meanings? ›
For example, English spelling of the Chinese first name Ming has many different associated Chinese characters, all of which have different meanings. Therefore, when the name is written in Chinese, a person called Ming can have a completely different name from another person who is also called Ming.At what age Chinese get married? ›
Statistics show both genders are delaying marriage. From 1990 to 2016, the average age for first marriages rose from 22 to 25 for Chinese women, and from 24 to 27 for Chinese men, according to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The figures in big cities are even higher.What Chinese name means lucky? ›
13. 福(fú) – luck.Why do Chinese have 3 names? ›
It's a long-established tradition
Until the mid-1900s in China, a person usually had three names besides his or her surname: ming, zi and hao. Ming is the name given by parents; Zi is the name granted to a person at the beginning of adulthood – men usually at the age of 20 and women at 15.
|For Male||For Female|
|宝宝bǎo bɑo- Babe; Honey; Baby||妞妞niū niū - Little girl|
|小心肝Xiao xin' gang - Little sweet heart||小宝贝xiǎo bǎo bèi - baby|
|哥哥Ge ge - brother||妹妹Mei mei - Sister|
|大野猪Da ye zhu - Big wild boar||小蚯蚓Xiao qiu yin - Small earthworm|
Lee or Li is the most common name in Chinese culture, it means 'plum'. It also means 'beautiful'. It is suitable for boys as well as girls.Is Xi a common name in China? ›
習, 习 (Xí; see Chinese Wikipedia article) This is the most common surname romanized "Xi", making up approximately 0.01% of the population of Mainland China.What is the best Chinese name for a girl? ›
- Ai: Meaning “lovable”.
- Ah Lam: Meaning “peace”.
- Chu Hua: Meaning “chrysanthemum”.
- Chyou: Meaning “fall”.
- Fen: Meaning “scent”.
- Hui Fen: Meaning “wise fragrance”.
- Hui Ying: Meaning “clever beauty”.
- Jia Li: Meaning “good” and “beautiful”.
Song is the pinyin transliteration of the Chinese family name 宋. It is transliterated as Sung in Wade-Giles, and Soong is also a common transliteration. In addition to being a common surname, it is also the name of a Chinese dynasty, the Song dynasty, written with the same character.Is law a Chinese last name? ›
Law is a surname, of English, Scottish, Cantonese, or Chinese origin. In Scotland, the surname means dweller at the low; as in a hill.How do you create a Chinese name? ›
- Start with Your Last Name. ...
- Choose the Length of Your Name. ...
- Get Creative and Abstract. ...
- Put the Last Name and First Name Together. ...
- Always Use a Chinese Dictionary. ...
- Come up with a Few Name Ideas and Test them All Out. ...
- 6.5 Additional Step.
Chinese given names are almost always made up of one or - usually - two characters and are written after the surname. Therefore, Wei (伟) of the Zhang (张) family is called "Zhang Wei" and not "Wei Zhang".Is Wong Chinese or Korean? ›
One of the most common Chinese family names, Huang, or Wong, can be traced back to an ancient state, whose citizens decided to take its name as their own. The ancient state of Huang was located in present-day Henan province.Is Wong Japanese or Chinese? ›
From Cantonese, from Chinese: 王 (wong4, “king”).Is Zhang a Chinese last name? ›
Zhang is the pinyin romanization of the very common Chinese surname written 张 in simplified characters and 張 in traditional characters. It is spoken in the first tone: Zhāng. It is a surname that exists in many languages and cultures, corresponding to the surname 'Archer' in English for example.What is Hello my name is in Chinese? ›
Survival Chinese: Basic Introduction "Hello, my name is ... - YouTubeHow are Chinese names translated to English? ›
First though, although we talk about Chinese name translation, in fact Chinese personal names aren't actually “translated” into English at all. Instead, the approximate sounds of the Chinese name are expressed using English, or more correctly Roman (or Latin), letters.How do you introduce yourself in Chinese? ›
The most common and simple way to introduce yourself in Chinese is to say “我叫(Wǒ jiào)” followed by your name. Alternatives include “我的名字叫(Wǒ de míngzi jiào)”, “我是(Wǒ shì)” or “我的名字是(Wǒ de míngzi shì)” followed by your name.
Yee is a common last name found among Overseas Chinese communities around the world. In fact, "Yee" is the transliteration of several different Chinese surnames. Its meaning varies depending on how it is spelled in Chinese, and which dialect it is pronounced in.Is Mi a Chinese name? ›
Mi is the ancient ancestral surname 羋, most notably the name of the imperial house of State of Chu during the Warring States period. It is also the pinyin romanisation of various modern Chinese surnames, including 麋, 米, 禰 and others.What does Yi mean Chinese? ›
In Chinese philosophy, yi (simplified Chinese: 义; traditional Chinese: 義; pinyin: yì) refers to righteousness, justice, morality, and meaning. Yi. Chinese name. Traditional Chinese.What God is Xiao? ›
Xiao is an illuminated beast who has lived for over two thousand years. In his youth, he was enslaved by an ancient god who learned his weakness and forced to perform cruel, violent acts on the god's behalf, including devouring the dreams of his victims.What does the name Zhongli mean? ›
high interest huge profit to value money highly.Is Liu a first or last name? ›
Liu is a common last name found among Overseas Chinese communities around the world. In fact, "Liu" is the transliteration of several different Chinese surnames. Its meaning varies depending on how it is spelled in Chinese, and which dialect it is pronounced in.What does the name Xiao mean? ›
Meaning:Dawn; Little; Reverent. Xiao is a gender-neutral name of Chinese origin and has several meanings, but the most notable translations are “dawn”, “little”, and “reverent of the elderly.” Xiao's connotation with the morning will make natural early-risers fall in love with this precious moniker.What kind of last name is sin? ›
Sin or Shin is a Korean family name. It is cognate to the Chinese family names Shēn (申) and Xin (辛). According to the 2000 census in South Korea, there were 911,556 people with the surname Sin.What does the name Yin mean? ›
Meaning & History
From Chinese 银 (yín) meaning "silver, money", 音 (yīn) meaning "sound, tone" or 荫 (yīn) meaning "shade, shelter, protect", as well as other Chinese characters pronounced similarly.
The shi (Chinese: 尸; pinyin: shī; Wade–Giles: sh'ih; lit. 'corpse') was a ceremonial "personator" who represented a dead relative during ancient Chinese ancestral sacrifices.
polite / courteous / formal / modest. 客氣 可气 kěqìWhat does mei in Chinese mean? ›
Mei is a girl's name of Chinese origin. This classic name translates to “gorgeous” and “plum,” the perfect name for a beautiful bouncing baby.Is Lee a Korean name or Chinese? ›
Lee is the typical romanization of the common South Korean surname I (Hangul 이), North Korean surname Ri (리). The name is written identically to the Chinese name Li 李 in Hanja characters. It is the second-most-common surname in Korea, behind only Kim.Is long a Chinese last name? ›
Long is the pinyin romanization of a Chinese surname. It includes 龍 / 龙, which means "dragon" in Chinese, ranking number 80 on the list of common Chinese surnames in 2006, up from 108 in 1990.Is Xing a Chinese surname? ›
|Pronunciation||Xíng (Pinyin) Hêng (Pe̍h-ōe-jī) Yìng (Guangdong Romanization)|
|Language(s)||Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean|
Kong (孔) is a Chinese and Korean surname. It can also be written as Kung in Taiwan, Hung in Hong Kong, Khổng in Vietnam, and Gong in Korea. There are around 2.1 million people with this surname in China in 2002, representing 0.23% of the population. In 2018, it was the 97th-most common surname in China.Is Chua a Chinese last name? ›
Chua is a common last name found among Overseas Chinese communities around the world. In fact, "Chua" is the transliteration of several different Chinese surnames. Its meaning varies depending on how it is spelled in Chinese, and which dialect it is pronounced in.Why is the L silent in Lee? ›
Bruce Lee (李振藩) has the same Chinese character family name. It is written as '李' and pronounced as '[Li]' in Chinese because there is no 두음법칙 in Chinese. Korean writes the family name in the same way as '李', but it is pronounced as '[이]' because of 두음법칙.What is the oldest surname? ›
Until the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC), people seemed to use matrilineal surnames, but afterward, they had switched to using patrilineal ones. The oldest surname known to have been recorded anywhere in Europe, though, was in County Galway, Ireland, in the year 916. It was the name “O Cleirigh” (O'Clery).What Chinese name means princess? ›
|Name||Meaning of Name|
|Roulan||Roulan is a beautiful name for your little princess, it means the one who is 'like an orchid', beautiful and rare.|
|Ru||Ru is the one who is knows everything, a little 'scholar' who will bring name and fame for the family.|
Kim is a common last name found among Overseas Chinese communities around the world. In fact, "Kim" is the transliteration of several different Chinese surnames. Its meaning varies depending on how it is spelled in Chinese, and which dialect it is pronounced in.What does xing4 mean in Chinese? ›
trusted intimate (of the emperor) to visit variant of 幸[xing4] Example Usage Strokes.What's your family name in Mandarin? ›
你姓什么？ Nǐ xìng shénme? What's your family name?What's your family name in Chinese? ›
In Chinese, when you want to know someone's name, you can say “Nǐ jiào shénme míngzi?” It means “what's your name?” In this sentence, “jiào” is a verb, which means 'be called”. “Shénme” means “what”.