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Hu (surname)

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Hu (surname)

Chinese name
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese alphabet Hồ
Korean name
Japanese name

Hu 胡 is a Chinese surname. In 2006, it was the 15th most common surname in China.[1][2]

Some other less-common surnames pronounced Hu include 瓠, 護, 戶, 扈, 虎, 呼, 忽, 斛 and 壶.


  • Meaning 1
  • History 2
  • Notable people 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


In Classical Chinese, hu 胡 meant: "dewlap; wattle" and was a variant Chinese character for "how; why; what" (he 何), "long-lasting; far-reaching" (xia 遐), "part of a dagger-axe", hu- in "butterfly" (hudie 蝴蝶), and "Northern Barbarians".[3]


According to tradition, the Hu 胡 surname has several historical origins. First, Hu could derive from the family of Duke Hu of Chen. King Wu of Zhou (r. 1046-043 BCE) enfeoffed his son-in-law Gui Man 媯滿 (supposedly a descendent of the legendary sage king Emperor Shun) with the state of Chen (in modern Henan Province). His posthumous name was Duke Hu, and some of his descendants adopted Hu as their surname. Second, Hu could derive from two Zhou vassal states named Hu 胡, one located near Luohe (Henan Province) or another near Fuyang (Anhui Province). Third, Hu could derive from non-Chinese people adopting it as their surname. For example, in the 496 Change of Xianbei names to Han names, Hegu/Gegu 紇骨 was changed to Hu 胡. Fourth, Hu could derive from the clan name of the ancient Tiele people within the Xiongnu confederation.

Non-Chinese peoples and ethnic minorities in China sometimes took the Chinese exonym for their ethnic group as their surname. The best example is Hu 胡, which was anciently used to refer to "barbarian" groups on the northern and western frontiers of China.

Hu 胡 is used for various northern and western peoples of non-Chinese stock. It was commonly used for people of Persian, Sogdian, Turkish, Xianbi, Indian and Kushan origin and, occasionally, for the Xiongnu (probably because of their connections with the Tonghu or Eastern Hu – a separate tribe conquered by the Xiongnu).[4]

Two historically significant Hu names are this Donghu 東胡 (literally "Eastern Barbarians") "ancient Mongolian nomadic group" and the Wu Hu 五胡 ("Five Barbarians") "five nomadic tribes involved in the Wu Hu uprising" (304-316 CE) against the Jin Dynasty.

Hu (Foochow Romanized: Hù; POJ: Hô or Ô) was also one of the eight surnames of the first Han Chinese clans who first moved out the Central Plains into Fujian province (八姓入閩; Foochow Romanized: Báik Sáng Ĭk Mìng) during the Wu Hu uprising.

The Hồ 胡 clan which founded the Hồ dynasty in Vietnam originated in Zhejiang province of China.[5][6]

The surname 虎 (Hǔ), which means "Tiger", is rare in China to the point where a lot of people are not aware that it is used as a surname. Some believe it came from the name of a 4,300-year-old chancellor while others believe it originates among the Hui Muslim minority.[7][8][9]

Notable people

See also

  • Ho, variant of surname Hu
  • Oh, Fujian variant of surname Hu


  1. ^ China renews top 100 surnames, Li still the biggest, People's Daily Online, January 11, 2006.
  2. ^ Meaning of Chinese names - H
  3. ^ Bernhard Karlgren. Grammata Serica Recensa. Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities. 1957:34.
  4. ^ Hill, John E. (2009) Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, 1st to 2nd Centuries CE, p. 192. BookSurge, Charleston, South Carolina. ISBN 978-1-4392-2134-1.
  5. ^ Taylor 2013, p. 166.
  6. ^ ed. Hall 2008, p. 161.
  7. ^ Wang, Guanqun, ed. (2010-02-10). Tiger" a rare but strong family name in China""". Xinhua. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  8. ^ Tiger' rare but strong family name in China"'". China Daily. 2010-02-10. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  9. ^ Yang, Chiu-ying (Mar 25, 2009). "Man on the hunt for rare family names". Taipei Times. p. 4. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 

External links

  • The Hu Peoples, Silk Road Seattle Virtual Art Exhibit.
  • Non-Chinese peoples and neighboring states: Hu 胡, ChinaKnowledge.
  • 胡, Chinese Text Project
  • Surname HU (胡), Chinese Culture Forum
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