19 Most Common Chinese Surnames or Family Names

List of the most used Chinese surnames (last names) and the meanings behind them, in ranking order of popularity:

Li

n.
1: Chinese plum 2: judge 3: a star’s name

Wang

n.
1: emperor 2: king 3: prince 4: court 5: dynasty 6: chief 7: grandfather; grandmother 8: ruler 9: champion

Zhang

n.
1: proposal 2: a plant’s name 3: curtain
v.
1: draw back 2: open 3: put up 4: magnify 5: spread

Liu

v.
1: kill 2: capture
n.
a weapon’s name

Chen

adj.
1: old 2: stale
v.
1: lay out 2: explain

Yang

n.
1: poplar 2: trembling aspen

Zhao

n.
an ancient Chinese state

Huang

adj.
yellow; sallow
n.
1: golden seal 2: the Yellow River; 3: the Yellow Emperor 4: pornography 5. wine 6: an ancient Chinese state 7: infant 8: old man
v.
1: fall through 2: ripen

Zhou

adj.
1: careful; meticulous; well-considered 2: close; intimate 3: complete 4: honest
n.
1: circumference; periphery 2: corner 3: week 4: a Chinese dynasty
v.
1: make a circuit 2:preserve 3: offer financial help to

Wu

adj.
big
n.
an ancient Chinese state
v.
peal

Xu

adj.
1: gentle; slow 2: leisurely 3: all
n.
an ancient Chinese state
v.
1: walk slowly 2: spread

Sun

n.
1: grandson; granddaughter 2: a relative of grandchild’s generation 3: descendant 4: small network

Hu

adj.
1: careless; reckless 2: black 3: far; great
adv.
1: how 2: why 3: what
n.
1: something resembling a wattle 2: non-Han nationalities living in the north and west of China in ancient times 3: wattle 4: an ancient Chinese state 5: moustache

Zhu

adj.
vermilion; bright-red
n.
1: the tree with red core 2: scarlet thing

Gao

adj.
1: high; tall 2: above the average; of a high degree; superior; advanced 3: empty; unrealist 4: old; aged 5: elated; loud
n.
1: height 2: an elevated place
v.
1: raise; heighten 2: respect 3: live in seclusion

Lin

adj.
various
n.
1: forest; grove; woods 2: secluded place 3: circle 4: surbur 5: forestry

He

adv.
1: what 2: where 3: who 4: which
v.
1: ask 2: berate; excoriate

Guo

n.
1: the outer wall of a city 2: city 3: outer frame or sheath 4: an ancient Chinese state
v.
1: expand 2: open up

Ma

adj.
big
n.
1: horse 2: code
v.
1: draw face 2: take horse; control a horse

Reference: Kingsoft PowerWord 2000

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