From Chinese 陈 (chén)
meaning "exhibit, display, old, ancient" and also referring to the former state of Chen, which existed in what is now Henan province from the 11th to 5th centuries BC.
From Chinese 韩 (hán)
referring to the ancient state of Han, which existed from the 5th to 3rd centuries BC in what is now Shanxi and Henan provinces.
From Chinese 胡 (hú)
meaning "beard, whiskers, recklessly, wildly, barbarian".
From Chinese 李 (lǐ)
meaning "plum, plum tree". This was the surname of Chinese emperors of the Tang dynasty.
From Chinese 廖 (liào)
which refers to the ancient state of Liao, which was located in present-day Henan province.
From Chinese 刘 (liú)
meaning "kill, destroy". This was the surname of Chinese emperors of the Han dynasty.
From Chinese 吕 (lǚ)
meaning "musical note" and also referring to the former state of Lu, which was situated in what is now Henan province.
From Chinese 潘 (pān)
meaning "water in which rice has been rinsed", and also referring to a river that flows into the Han River.
From Chinese 阮 (ruǎn)
which refers to a type of musical instrument, similar to a lute.
From Chinese 宋 (sòng)
referring to the Song dynasty, which ruled China from 960 to 1279.
From Chinese 孙 (sūn)
meaning "grandchild, descendant". A famous bearer of the surname was Sun Tzu, the 6th-century BC author of 'The Art of War'.
From Chinese 唐 (táng)
referring to the Tang dynasty, which ruled China from 618 to 907.
From Chinese 王 (wáng)
meaning "king, monarch". This is the most common surname in China.
From Chinese 文 (wén)
meaning "literature, culture, writing".
From Chinese 吴 (wú)
which refers to the ancient state of Wu, which was located in present-day Jiangsu province.
From Chinese 徐 (xú)
meaning "slowly, calmly".
From Chinese 于 (yú)
meaning "in, on, at". According to legend, King Wu of Zhou bestowed the realm of Yu to his second son, who subsequently adopted this as his surname.
From Chinese 虞 (yú)
meaning "concerned, anxious" and also referring to the ancient state of Yu, which was situated in what is now Shanxi province.
From Chinese 张 (zhāng)
meaning "stretch, extend". It may have denoted a bowmaker whose job it was to stretch bow wood.
From Chinese 赵 (zhào)
which refers to an ancient city-state in what is now Shanxi province. According to legend, King Mu rewarded his chariot driver Zaofu with the city, at which time Zaofu adopted this surname. The later historic state of Zhao, which existed from the 5th to 3rd centuries BC, was named after this city.... [more]
From Chinese 郑 (zhèng)
which refers to the ancient state of Zheng. Zheng existed between the 9th to 4th centuries BC in present-day Henan province. A famous bearer of this surname was the 15th-century explorer Zheng He.
From Chinese 周 (zhōu)
which refers to the Zhou dynasty, which held power from 1046 to 771 BC, continuing for a few more centuries as figureheads.
From Chinese 朱 (zhū)
"vermilion red, cinnabar" and also referring to the ancient state of Zhu, which existed in what is now Shandong province. This was the surname of the emperors of the Ming dynasty.