Wu (surname)


Wu surname in regular script
Romanization Wu (Mandarin)
O/Oh (Korean)
Ng (Shanghainese, Cantonese, Hakka)
Ngô (Vietnamese)
Language(s) Chinese, Korean
Language(s) Old Chinese
Other names
See also O (surname)
Ng (surname)

Wu is the Pinyin transliteration of the Chinese surname (Traditional Chinese), (Simplified Chinese), which is the tenth most common surname in Mainland China. Wu (吳) is the sixth name listed in the Song Dynasty classic Hundred Family Surnames.[1]

The Shanghainese,[2] Cantonese and Hakka transliteration of 吳 is Ng, a syllable made entirely of a nasal consonant while the Min Nan transliteration of 吳 is Goh or Ngoh, depending on the regional variations in Min Nan pronunciation. In Korea, the surname is pronounced as "Oh". In Vietnam, the surname is known as "Ngo".

is also one of the most common surnames in Korea. It is spelled 오 in Hangul and romanized O by the three major romanization systems, but more commonly spelled Oh in South Korea. It is also related far back in Chinese history with the name "Zhou (周)" and "Ji (姬)".

Several other, less common Chinese surnames with different pronunciations are also transliterated into English as "Wu": , , , , and . Wu' (or Woo or Wou) is also the Cantonese transliteration of the different Chinese surname 胡 (see Hu), used in Hong Kong, and by overseas Chinese of Cantonese speaking areas of Guangdong, or Hong Kong origin.

History of the surname Wu (吳)

The name originates from the ancient state of Wu in present-day province of Jiangsu.

In the 13th century B.C., the state of Zhou (which will later become the Zhou Dynasty) was ruled by Tai Wang (King Tai of Zhou). His surname was originally Ji (姬). He had three sons: Taibo, Zhongyong, and Jili. King Tai of Zhou favored the youngest son, Jili to inherit the reins of power, therefore Taibo and his brother Zhongyong voluntarily left Zhou with a group of followers and headed southeast where they established the state of Wu.[3][4] Taibo and Zhongyong's descendants eventually adopted Wu (吳) as their surname. The state of Wu later became a powerful kingdom of its own with the help of Generals Wu Zixu and Sun Tzu, the latter best known as the author of the military treatise The Art of War, both serving under King Helü of Wu. King Helü is considered to be one of the Five Hegemons of China during the Spring and Autumn period.

Taibo and Zhongyong's youngest brother Jili stayed to rule the Zhou state and was the grandfather of Wu Wang (King Wu of Zhou) who started the Zhou Dynasty after successfully overthrowing the Shang Dynasty. The descendants of Wu Wang eventually changed their surname from Ji(姬) to Zhou (周) during the Qin Dynasty to commemorate the merits and virtues of their ancestors.[5]

Therefore, the last names Wu (吳), Zhou (周), and Ji (姬) are historically related.

People named Wu

(in alphabetical order according to their names as spelled in Pinyin, or if unavailable, in English)

Historical figures

Modern figures

Wǔ ()

Wǔ ()

Wū ()


External links

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