Top 110 Chinese Surnames or Last Names With Meanings

110 Chinese Last Names Or Surnames

As per tradition, Chinese family names precede a person’s given name. Chinese last names are usually passed on from father to child, but it is also possible that they have not originated the same way. In certain cases, last names include women’s names or characters of a woman. Thus, it is also believed that earlier, the mothers’ names were passed down. The names mentioned below are some of the popular Chinese last names, which are indeed among the most beautiful.

100 Popular Surnames or Family Names

Find out a long list of unusual and famous Chinese last names along with the following meanings:

1. Au

Au is a shortest topographic surname, which means ‘water meadow’ or ‘Stream’.

2. Bai

Bai is a common Mongolian surname which means ‘White’.

3. Cai

Cai is one of the common Chinese last names termed as ‘firewood’. During ancient times, there was a Chinese state named Cai.

4. Cao

Cao is an ancient last name which means ‘to grasp something’.

5. Cui

Cui is a popular surname in China, and it means ‘towering’.

6. Cheng

Cheng means ‘law’. Some of Cheng’s other meanings include ‘journey’, ‘honesty’, and ‘procedure’.

7. Chen

Chen means ‘to exhibit’, ‘ancient’ or ‘old’. This is a widely used surname in Xiamen city, which is situated in the South-eastern coast of China.

8. Chia

This last name is generally used in the Shanxi Province. It is also a surname from Chia. The name denotes a kind of cape.

9. Dong

Dong is a unique surname, which means ‘Supervisor’ or ‘Mentor’.

10. Ding

Ding means ‘a powerful and strong man’.  This a popular surname used by the Chinese people across the globe.

11. Du

This surname is derived from a word that means ‘to avoid’ or ‘prevent’.

12. Dai

Dai is a toponymic word, which means ‘to support’.

13. Deng

Deng is an East Asian surname of toponymic origin. It is derived from the Deng Kingdom.

14. Eng

Eng name is derived from the history of the ancient state of Wu, which is now the province of Jiangsu. It refers to someone who dwells near a meadow.

15. Fang

Fang is a famous surname which means ‘something that is square or four-sided’.

16. Feng

Feng is a commonly used Chinese surname that originated from a town called Feng, which, during the Zhou Dynasty (around 10th century BC), was located in the state of Wei.

17. Fei

A simple surname originated from the word ‘fairy’.

18. Fu

It is an ancient Chinese surname deprived of imperial origin. It means ‘a guide or teacher’.

19. Fan

Fan is a short and simple surname that means ‘a bee’ or ‘an example’.

20. Gao

Gao is an East-Asian Chinese surname which means ‘someone or something tall and high’.

21. Gu

Gu is derived from a Chinese word which means ‘to care for’.

22. Guo

A surname which means ‘wall surrounding the city’. The name has a toponymic origin, and it came from a kingdom that existed during the ancient Xia dynasty.

23. Guan

Guan is a popular Chinese surname derived from a state that existed during Zhou dynasty (1122 BC). It means ‘mountain pass or guarded path’.

24. Gong

The meaning of Gong is ‘to give’. It is derived from an East-Asian Chinese word.

25. Han

The surname has a toponymic origin, and it refers to the ancient Kingdom of Han, which is located in the Henan and Shanxi provinces in China.

26. He

He is a word that originated from the Jiang clan of Yandi and the Ji clan of the Zhou Dynasty. This surname means ‘an astrologer’.

27. Hong

Hong is a modern surname, which means ‘rainbow’.

28. Hou

Hou is a special word derived from the word ‘marquis’.

29. Hu

The surname Hu means ‘whiskers’ or ‘wild’, and was adopted during the Xia dynasty.

30. Huang

Huang is a rare surname used by the Chinese people; it means ‘Yellow’.

31. Ing

Ing is a famous surname derived from the Wu dynasty.

32. Ip

Ip is one of the unique surnames which is derived from the word that means ‘leaf’.

33. Jen

Jen is a distinctive surname derived from Huang Dynasty, and it refers to ‘water lily’.

34. Jiang

Jiang surname is derived from the word that means ‘wild rice’.

35. Jia

Jia, a surname of toponymic origin, is derived from Jia, an ancient Chinese kingdom that is actually situated in the Shanxi province of China.

36. Jin

Jin is a precious surname which means ‘Gold’.

37. Jew

Jew is an ethnic surname derived from the Chou dynasty.

38. Kang

A modern surname which means ‘well-being’ or ‘a healthy person’.

39. Ke

Ke means ‘an Axe handle’.

40. King

King is a surname derived from Romanian origin, and the word means ‘the ruler’.

41. Kong

The Kong word is originated from the famous Chinese politician and Philosopher family name of ‘Confucius’.

42. Lee

The surname Lee is the most prominent names in China. It means ‘a cause or a logic’. The surname even refers to “a plum tree.”

43. Li

Li is a variant of Lee. Apart from the meanings that apply to Lee, this name also refers to ‘multitude’.

44. Lai

Lai is a famous surname which means ‘trusting someone or relying on something’.

45. Lei

The meaning of the word Lei is ‘thunder’.

46. Liang

Liang is an East Asian surname originated from a toponymic origin. The surname Liang means ‘bridge or pillar’.

47. Liu

This name was taken from Han Dynasty rulers; it means ‘to kill’ or ‘to destroy’.

48. Lin

Lin word was originated from the late Shang dynasty. It has been a common surname which means ‘tall trees or a forest’.

49. Long

Long was the name of a treasurer who lived in King Shun’s reign. The surname Long refers to ‘a dragon’.

50. Luo

Luo is a surname which is derived from a word that means ‘bird-trapping net’.

51. Lu

Lu is one of the basic surnames among the Chinese population; it means ‘a hut’ or ‘a cottage’.

52. Ma

The other Chinese word for ‘a horse’ is Ma.

53. Mao

This name has a toponymic origin; it is derived from an ancient Chinese region that developed under the Zhou Dynasty, and is currently located in the province of Henan. Mao refers to ‘feathers’ or ‘fur’.

54. Meng

Meng represents the position of a senior member in a family. It means ‘someone who is eminent’ or ‘the first’.

55. Mo

Mo surname is derived from a word meaning ‘do not’.

56. Ngo

The Ngo surname refers to a word which means ‘unexplained’.

57. Ou Yang

Ou-Yang is a remarkable example of a two-character Chinese surname, a word meaning ‘the bright (south) side of the Ou Mountains’.

58. Pan

Pan surname is derived from a river that flows into the River Han.

59. Peng

Peng surnames refer to persons who were the descendants of Peng Zu during the Shang dynasty.

60. Qin

This family name was derived from the first dynasty of imperial China ‘Qin’.

61. Qiu

Qiu surnames refer to the word which means ‘hills’.

62. Rao

The last name originated in the area near present-day Linfen county in the Shanxi provinces.

63. Ruan

Ruan originated from a traditional Chinese musical instrument.

64. Shen

A famous Chinese surname which means ‘to sink’.

65. Shao

Shao surname is originated from the Zhou dynasty which means ‘Pottery’.

66. Shi

The family name Shi comes from a word that means ‘to establish’ or ‘to reproduce’.

67. Shing

Shing is a modern Chinese surname which means ‘prosperous’.

68. Song

Song was the dynasty that ruled in China in ancient times. From then on, the surname has become a popular family name.

69. Su

Su is an ancient surname that originated during the King Fu Xi’s dynasty.

70. Sun

Sun is a famous family name which refers to ‘a grandchild’ or ‘a descendant’.

71. Tan

Tan means ‘to talk’, and this family name originated from a traditional Chinese state named Tan.

72. Tang

Tang surname was derived from Tang dynasty, and has a toponymic origin.

73. Tao

This is a respected surname that refers to a word which means ‘to be pleased’.

74. Tian

Tian means ‘talking’, and it is derived from Tan, an ancient town located in the Shandong province of China.

75. Wan

Wan is an interesting surname which means ‘ten thousand’.

76. Wang

Wang means ‘a King’ or ‘a Prince’; it has become the most popular last name for Chinese.

77. Wei

Wei means ‘soft leather’.

78. Wen

Wen is a family name which refers to ‘words’ or ‘scripts’.

79. Wu

Wu is a toponymic originated word derived during the Western Zhou dynasty.

80. Xia

Xia surname is derived from Xia dynasty, and it refers to ‘summer’.

81. Xiao

Xiao is derived from the Xiao Kingdom, and it means ‘quiet’.

82. Xie

Xie means ‘to apologise or thank someone’.

83. Xin

Xin originates from the Xiang dynasty.

84. Xiong

Xiong means ‘Bear’. It is a common surname in China.

85. Xu

Xu means ‘slow’ or ‘calm’, and it originated during the Qing dynasty.

86. Xue

Xue is a well-known surname; it means “Wormwood,” which is a therapeutic herb used to alleviate digestion problems.

87. Yan

Yan surname means ‘strict’ or ‘tight’.

88. Yang

Yang is a popular surname in Mainland China, and it means ‘Willow’ or ‘Aspen’.

89. Yao

Yao surname means that ‘the person is elegant’.

90. Yu

A Chinese surname which refers to ‘rainfall’.

91. Yuan

Yuan surname originated from a family in Chen, and it means ‘a long dress or a robe’.

92. Zeng

Zeng surname was originated from Zeng, a state in China. It refers to ‘the relation between a great grandfather and his great grandson’.

93. Zhang

Zhang surname refers to the ‘stretching of the bowstring’.

94. Zhao

Zhao means ‘an ancient city’ and Zhao surnames are quite popular in the Mandarin-speaking regions of China.

95. Zheng

This surname has a toponymic origin, and refers to the Zheng state, which is presently known as Henan Province.

96. Zhong

Zhong comes from Zhongli state situated in the river Huai, and the word refers to ‘bell’.

97. Zhou

This last name has a toponymic origin, and it means ‘a week’ or ‘circumference’.

98. Zhu

The name comes from the Zhou dynasty. It also refers to ‘crimson’.

99. Zhuang

Zhuang is an occupational surname which refers as a ‘place of business’, ‘a banker’ or ‘a farmstead’.

100. Zou

A popular surname derived from the Zhou dynasty.

10 Most Common Chinese Last Names

Here are some unique last names which are fairly popular in China. Rare Chinese surnames are also mentioned, which can be used as last names in China. Below is a list of the 10 most popular Chinese last names.

1. Bao 

Bau is a last name commonly found in the Chinese community. It means ‘to wrap’ or ‘to hold’ 

2. Cun 

Cun, as a Chinese surname, can have several meanings, but the aptest one is ‘to exist’ or ‘to preserve’. 

3. Fabu 

Fabu, as a Chinese last name, translates to ‘to release’ and ‘to distribute’. 

4. Gongsun 

Gongsun, as a Chinese last name, is quite unique. It is a compound of two Chinese characters; “gong”, which means ‘duke’ or ‘public’ and “sun”, which means ‘grandson’ or ‘descendants’. 

5. Guangchang 

Guanchang is a beautiful Chinese last name which translates to ‘official prosperity’. It is relatively more unique. I 

6. Huang Cantonese 

Huang Cantonese is a common Chinese surname, commonly used in Cantonese-speaking regions, as the name might suggest. In Chinese, ‘Huang’ depicts a yellow hue, which is often used as a surname to indicate a family with a yellow or golden ancestor, such as a ruler or leader. It is one of the oldest Chinese surnames. 

7. Jiandan 

Jiandan is also a fairly popular but unique Chinese surname. ‘Jian’ means simple or uncomplicated, and ‘dan’ means single or only.  

8. Qiche 

Qiche is a commonly used last name in China and translates to a car or automobile in Chinese. An incredibly affectionate nickname, ‘Qiche’ is now an increasingly popular surname. 

9. You 

You, as a fairly popular Chinese last name, means ‘to swim’ or ‘to travel’. It houses elements of water and movement and is relatively unique as a Chinese surname. 

10. Zan 

Zan, in the Chinese language, means ‘to praise’ or ‘to approve’. It symbolises a person who is good at praising or expressing approval, thus creating a great last name in Chinese. 

Last names are used in general to recognise family members distinctly from the given name of each member. Many Chinese surnames are common and famous Chinese surnames that have a toponymic origin, while others may derive from house names, family names, or even professions.

Previous article «
Next article »
Gauri Ratnam completed her Masters in English Literature from the University of Pune. She began her journey as a German translator soon after completing her graduation, but later moved on to pursue her passion for writing. Having written for both digital and print media in a varied range of industries, she has the ability to write relatable and well-researched content, benefical for anyone seeking advice or direction.