Top 100 Chinese surnames (last names) and their meanings

According to the latest research of the Ministry of Public Security of China, there are totally 6150 surnames (last names) in use in China nowadays.

China has nearly 1.4 billion people live in the country and the top 100 Chinese surnames cover around 85% of the total population.

Each of the top 2 surnames which are Li and Wang even has more than 100 million population.

If you get familiar with the top 100 Chinese last names, it will be easier for you to recognize which phrases are the names of people and read articles about Chinese more fluently.

The Chinese name usually consists of a surname and a given name. Surname is the same as the family name, which is one character, and the following one or two characters are usually the given name.

Note: In the traditional way, the Chinese surname is ahead of the given name. For example, Li Mei is a typical Chinese name, and Li (李) is the surname and Mei is the given name.

However, if a Chinese name is written in English, sometimes the surname and the given name will change the order to be similar to the foreign names.

Here is the list of top 100 common Chinese last names

1. Wang (王)

Wang is the most common Chinese surname in China, which represents around 1,015 million people in the research of 2019. Wang’s meaning is the king of a country.

2. Li (李)

Li is the second common Chinese last name, which represents around 1,009 million people. Li used to be the name of the king in the Tang dynasty.

3. Zhang (张)

Zhang is the quantifier of the bow and arrow. The people who are good at bow and arrow name themself Zhang.

4. Liu (刘)

Liu is the king’s surname in the Han dynasty. The ancient meaning of Liu is an axe.

5. Chen (陈)

The people whose surname is Chen is the descendant of the king Shun, who is the second king of Chinese history.

6. Yang (杨)

Yang is the meaning of the sun. so the ancient people who believe in the sun name themselves Yang.

7. Huang (黄)

Huang is the name of the color yellow in China, it is also the surname of the Chinese first king in ancient times.

8. Zhao (赵)

Zhao is the name of the king in the Qing dynasty. It is the name of the first emperor in Chinese history.

9. Wu (吴)

Wu is a common name in China and represents 278 million people in China.

10. Zhou (周)

Zhou has a long history in Chinese history, it is a civilian name.

11. Xu (徐)

Xu is the meaning of the law of astronomy.

12. Sun (孙)

Sun comes from an ancient book ShuoWen in China. It is a character in that book.

13. Ma (马)

Ma is the name of the horse in China.

14. Zhu (朱)

Zhu is the royal name of a king in ancient times.

15. Hu (胡)

Hu is a civilian name in China, which has no special meaning.

16. Guo (郭)

Guo is the common surname in Sichuan province, which represents 15.8 million people.

17. He (何)

He is a common surname in China.

18. Lin (林)

Lin is the meaning of forest, which represents 14.2 million people in China.

19. Gao (高)

Gao is the meaning of height, which represents 14.1 million people in China.

20. Luo (罗)

Luo comes from the Henan province in China.

21. Zhen (郑)

Zhen is a royal name in China.

22. Liang (梁)

Liang is the meaning of the bridge of the river in ancient China.

23. Xie (谢)

Xie is the meaning of “Thank you”.

24. Song (宋)

Song is the name of a dynasty, which is the Song dynasty.

25. Tang (唐)

Tang is the name of a dynasty, which is the Tang dynasty.

26. Xu (许)

Xu is the meaning of axe in ancient China.

27. Deng (邓)

Deng is a country name in ancient China.

28. Han (韩)

Han is a common name of people in minority ethnic groups.

29. Feng (冯)

Feng means the noise of a fast-moving horse.

30. Cao (曹)

Cao is a common name in China.

Below are the 31 ~ 100 surnames in China, which actually don’t have too many meanings. They are all just common names for normal people.

Here they are:

31. Peng (彭)

32. Zeng (曾)

33. Xiao (肖)

34. Tian (田)

35. Dong (董)

36. Pan (潘)

37. Yuan (袁)

38. Cai (蔡)

39. Jiang (蒋)

40. Yu (余)

41. Yu (于)

42. Du (杜)

43. Ye (叶)

44. Cheng (程)

45. Wei (魏)

46. Su (苏)

47. Lv (吕)

48. Ding (丁)

49. Ren (任)

50. Lu (卢)

51. Yao (姚)

52. Shen (沈)

53. Zhong (钟)

54. Jiang (姜)

55. Cui (崔)

56. Tan (谭)

57. Lu (陆)

58. Wang (汪)

59. Fan (范)

60. Liao (廖)

61. Shi (石)

62. Jin (金)

63. Wei (韦)

64. Jia (贾)

65. Xia (夏)

66. Fu (付)

67. Fang (方)

68. Zhou (邹)

69. Xiong (熊)

70. Bai (白)

71. Tan (孟)

72. Qin (秦)

73. Qiu (邱)

74. Hou (侯)

75. Jiang (江)

76. Yin (尹)

77. Xue (薛)

78. Yan (闫)

79. Lei (雷)

80. Long (龙)

81. Li (黎)

82. Shi (史)

83. Tao (陶)

84. He (贺)

85. Mao (毛)

86. Duan (段)

87. Hao (郝)

88. Gu (顾)

89. Gong (龚)

90. Shao (邵)

91. Qin (覃)

92. Wu (武)

93. Qian (钱)

94. Dai (戴)

95. Yan (严)

96. Mo (莫)

97. Kong (孔)

98. Xiang (向)

99. Chang (常)

100. Tang (汤)

Final Words

Have you found your Chinese friend’s name on the above list?

Tell them their surname’s meaning and I’m pretty sure they will be amazed by you!

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