Wang (surname)

Pronunciation Wáng ([u̯ǎŋ]) (Mandarin)
Wong (surname) (Hong Kong, Macau, Cantonese, Hakka)
Waan (Shanghainese)
Ong, Bong (Hokkien)
Heng (Teochew)
Uōng (Gan)
Vang, Vaj, Vaaj (Hmong)
Vương, Vong (Vietnamese)
Wang (Korean)
Language(s) Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean
Language(s) Old Chinese
Word/Name China
Meaning "king"[1]
Other names
Derivative(s) Vuong
Pronunciation Wāng (Mandarin)
Wong (Cantonese)
Waan (Shanghainese)
Ong, Ang (Hokkien)
Wang (Korean)
Uông (Vietnamese)
Language(s) Chinese, Vietnamese
Language(s) Chinese

Wang (/wɑːŋ/) is the pinyin romanization of the Chinese surnames (Wáng) and (Wāng).

Wáng (王) was listed 8th on the famous Song Dynasty list of the Hundred Family Surnames; it is the most common surname in mainland China.[2]

Wāng (汪) was 104th of the Hundred Family Surnames; it is the 58th-most-common surname in mainland China.


王 is also romanized as Wong in Hong Kong, Macau, Cantonese and Hakka; Waan or Waon in Shanghainese; Ong or Bong in Hokkien; Heng in Teochew; Uōng in Gan; Vang, Vaj, or Vaaj in Hmong; Vương or Vong in Vietnamese; Wang () in Korean; and Ō or Oh in Japanese.

汪 is typically romanized identically, despite its distinct tone. It is also Wong in Cantonese, Ong or Ang in Hokkien, Wang (왕) in Korean, and Ō or Oh in Japanese. However, in Vietnamese, it is written Uông.


Wáng is one of the most common surnames in the world and was listed by the People's Republic of China's National Citizen ID Information System as the most common surname in mainland China in April 2007, with 92.88 million bearers and comprising 7.25% of the general population.[3][4] It was the 6th most common surname in Taiwan in 2005, comprising 4.12% of the general population.[5]

Wāng was listed by the NCIIS survey as the 58th most common surname in mainland China[3] and by Yang Xuxian as the 76th most common surname on Taiwan.[6]

Ong is the 5th-most-common surname among Chinese Singaporeans and Wong the 6th.[7]

There were 88,000 Wongs during the year 2000 US Census, making it the 7th-most-common surname among Asians and Pacific Islanders and the 279th most common surname overall. The 63,800 Wangs ranked 10th and 440th, respectively.[8]

Wang (Hangul: ) is a fairly rare surname in South Korea. The year 2000 South Korean Census listed only 23,447 Wangs.[9]

Origins of Wáng

王 is the Chinese word for "king". William Baxter and Laurent Sagart reconstructed the Old Chinese form of Wáng as *ɢʷaŋ and the Middle Chinese as hjwang.[1]

The modern bearers of the name Wáng come from many different backgrounds, but the principal origins of the modern surname were four: the Zi, the Ji, the Gui, and the adoption of the name from ethnic groups outside the Han Chinese.[10]

Zi house

The most ancient family name of Wáng was originated from the surname Zi. The Chinese legend mentions that near the end of Shang Dynasty, King Zhou of Shang's uncle Bi Gan, Ji Zi, and Wei Zi were called "The Three Kindhearted Men of Shang". King Zhou was violent in his rule, and Bi Gan repeatedly remonstrated to the king regarding his behavior. The king shunned his comments and killed Bi Gan instead. Bi's descendants used Wáng as their surname as they are descendants of a prince and were known as "The Bi clan of the Wáng family".[11] The Zi clan has existed for about 3100 years through Qin Dynasty to Tang Dynasty and exists today. The Zi clan of Wáng lived predominantly in Henan during these times and developed into the famous Wáng family of Ji prefecture.[12]

House of Ji

More Wáng were originated from the royal family of Zhou Dynasty. The original surname of the royal family of Zhou Dynasty was Ji. However, many of them have separated out of the family due to the loss of power and land. Because they once belonged to the royal family, they used Wáng as their surname. This family of Wáng traced its ancestry to Wang Ziqiao[13]

According to the classical records, after King Wu of Zhou defeated the Shang Dynasty, he established the Western Zhou Dynasty. During the reign of the 21st king, King Ling of Zhou (571 - 545 BCE), the capital was in Chengzhou, which is the present day Luoyang, Henan. A son of King Ling, Wangzi Qiao or Prince Qiao, was reduced to civilian status due to his remonstration to the king. His son Zong Jin remained as a Situ in the palace, and because of the people at the time recognized him as the descendant of the royal family, they called his family the "Wáng family".[14] When the 8th generation Wang Cuo became a general in the State of Wei, the clan finally regained its status. In the early period of Qin Dynasty, this clan was active in areas of Luoyang in Henan. Between the end of Qin Dynasty and the beginning of Han Dynasty, Wang Yuan and Wang Wei, sons of the Marquis of Wuchen Wang Li, moved to Langye in Shandong and Taiyuan in Shanxi. Since then, they have developed into the famous Wáng families of Langye and Taiyuan, the largest group among this surname. The Ji clan of Wang existed around 2600 years. In China, 90% of the Wáng family originated from the Ji clan.

During the Tang dynasty the Li family of Zhaojun 赵郡李氏, the Cui family of Boling 博陵崔氏, the Cui family of Qinghe 清河崔氏, the Lu family of Fanyang 范陽盧氏, the Zheng family of Xingyang 荥阳郑氏, the Wang family of Taiyuan 太原王氏, and the Li family of Longxi 隴西李氏 were the seven noble families between whom marriage was banned by law.[15] Moriya Mitsuo wrote a history of the Later Han-Tang period of the Taiyuan Wang. Among the strongest families was the Taiyuan Wang.[16] The prohibition on marriage between the clans issued in 659 by the Gaozong Emperor was flouted by the seven families since a woman of the Boling Cui married a member of the Taiyuan Wang, giving birth to the poet Wang Wei.[17] He was the son of Wang Chulian who in turn was the son of Wang Zhou.[18] The marriages between the families were performed clandestinely after the prohibition was implemented on the seven families by Gaozong.[19] The Zhou dynasty King Ling's son Prince Jin is assumed by most to be the ancestor of the Taiyuan Wang.[20] The Longmen Wang were a cadet line of the Zhou dynasty descended Taiyuan Wang, and Wang Yan and his grandson Wang Tong hailed from his cadet line.[21] Both Buddhist monks and scholars hailed from the Wang family of Taiyuan such as the monk Tanqian.[22] The Wang family of Taiyuan included Wang Huan.[23] Their status as "Seven Great surnames" became known during Gaozong's rule.[24] The Taiyuan Wang family produced Wang Jun who served under Emperor Huai of Jin.[25] A Fuzhou-based section of the Taiyuan Wang produced the Buddhist monk Baizhang.[26]

House of Gui

In Qi, the descendants of Tian An (田安) received the surname Wáng.

Origins of Wāng

汪 means "vast" in the Chinese language, and is often used to describe oceans. In the modern vernacular Chinese, it is also the onomatopoeia for the sound of a barking dog. Baxter and Sagart reconstructed it as *qʷˤaŋ and 'wang, respectively.[27]

Chinese Muslims

Unlike other Hui people who claim foreign descent, Hui in Gansu with the surname Wāng are descended from Han Chinese who converted to Islam and married Hui or Dongxiang people.

A town called Tangwangchuan in Gansu had a multi-ethnic populace, the Tang (唐) and Wāng families predominating. The Tang and Wang families were originally of non-Muslim Han extraction, but by the Twentieth Century some branches of the families had become Muslim by intermarriage or conversion.[28]

The surname in other countries/ethnic groups


Revised Romanization Wang
McCune–Reischauer Wang

In Korea, the Wangs are said to have originated from the Silla kingdom. One of the kingdom's noble families originally had the surname Jak (). However, when Wang Geon  the future founder of the Goryeo kingdom  met a Buddhist monk at an early age with his father, the Buddhist monk foresaw that he would one day become king and therefore his father changed their last name to "Wang". Wang was then the Goryeo dynastic name for the duration of the kingdom, although it has since fallen into disuse. It is said that when Goryeo fell, people changed their surname to avoid severe persecution from the succeeding Joseon Dynasty. The Kaesong Wang lineage traces its ancestry to the Goryeo rulers.


Main article: O (surname)

Ō is a rare Japanese name, mostly held by those of Chinese descent.


In Indonesia, the surname is often romanized as "Heng", "Bong" or "Ong" for people of Hokkien descent, and more commonly as Ong by Chinese Peranakan.


Wang is also a completely unrelated surname in Sweden and Norway. It is a variant form of the name Vang which is derived from the Old Norse word "vangr," meaning field or meadow.


Wang is also a surname in the German and Dutch languages. The name is derived from Middle German wang/ Middle Dutch waenge, which is literally "cheek". However, in southern German, its meaning, "grassy slope" or "field of grass", is similar to the Scandinavian surname.

Notable people surnamed Wang

Note: people generally romanized as "Wong" are listed in the "Wong" article. People generally romanized as "Ong" are listed in the "Ong" article. People with the family name "Vuong" are listed in the "Vuong" article. People generally romanized as "O" or "Oh" are listed in the "Ō" article.

Historical figures

Mainland China


  • Wang Shujin (Ong Seok Kim) (1884–1964), Malaysian educationist, social worker and philanthropist


  • Wang Yuegu, China-born Singaporean Olympic table tennis player



United States

Fictional people

See also


  1. 1 2 Baxter, Wm. H. & Sagart, Laurent. "Baxter–Sagart Old Chinese Reconstruction". (1.93 MB), p. 48. 2011. Accessed 11 October 2011.
  2. "公安部统计:'王'成中国第一大姓 有9288万人 [Public Security Bureau Statistics: 'Wang' Found China's #1 'Big Family', Includes 92.88m People]." 24 Apr 2007. Accessed 27 Mar 2012.(Chinese)
  3. 1 2 Xinhua Net. 公安部统计分析显示:王姓成为我国第一大姓. (Chinese)
  4. People's Daily. "Chinese surname shortage sparks rethink".
  5. Taiwanese Ministry of the Interior, Department of Population. Feb 2005. Op. cit. 中华百家姓-千字文-国学经典-文化经典. "中国台湾姓氏排行 [Taiwan (China) Surname Ranking]". 8 Jun 2010. Accessed 1 Apr 2012. (Chinese)
  6. Yang Xuxian. 《台湾百大姓氏》 [Taiwan's Hundred 'Big Families']. Op. cit. 中华百家姓-千字文-国学经典-文化经典. "中国台湾姓氏排行 [Taiwan (China) Surname Ranking]". 8 Jun 2010. Accessed 1 Apr 2012. (Chinese)
  7. Statistics Singapore. "Popular Chinese Surnames in Singapore".
  8. United States Census Bureau. "Genealogy Data: Frequently Occurring Surnames from Census 2000". 27 Sept 2011. Accessed 29 Mar 2012.
  9. .
  10. Origin of the surname Wang, Wong, Ong, Heng.
  11. - Hundred Family's Surnames: Wang entry (under paragraph 3 says Wang is the descendants of Prince Bi Gan)
  12. Tracing of the Ancestry: under paragraph 1
  13. Wang Ziqiao
  14. Chinese surname history: Wang, under paragraph 2
  15. p. 67.
  16. A Zürcher (Milchfecker): Eine nicht alltägliche Stimme aus der Emmentaler-Käsereipraxis. Brill Archive. 1830. pp. 351–. GGKEY:WD42J45TCZZ.
  17. Wei Wang; Tony Barnstone; Willis Barnstone; Haixin Xu (1991). Laughing Lost in the Mountains: Poems of Wang Wei. UPNE. pp. xxvii–xxviii. ISBN 978-0-87451-564-0. Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)
  18. Jingqing Yang (2007). The Chan Interpretations of Wang Wei's Poetry: A Critical Review. Chinese University Press. pp. 16–. ISBN 978-962-996-232-6.
  19. A Study of Yuan Zhen's Life and Verse 809--810: Two Years that Shaped His Politics and Prosody. ProQuest. 2008. pp. 65–. ISBN 978-0-549-80334-8.
  20. Ding Xiang Warner (2003). A Wild Deer Amid Soaring Phoenixes: The Opposition Poetics of Wang Ji. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 156–. ISBN 978-0-8248-2669-7.
  21. Ding Xiang Warner (15 May 2014). Transmitting Authority: Wang Tong (ca. 584–617) and the Zhongshuo in Medieval China's Manuscript Culture. BRILL. pp. 98–. ISBN 978-90-04-27633-8.
  22. Jinhua Chen (2002). Monks and monarchs, kinship and kingship: Tanqian in Sui Buddhism and politics. Scuola italiana di studi sull'Asia orientale. pp. 34, 36. ISBN 978-4-900793-21-7.
  23. Oliver J. Moore (1 January 2004). Rituals Of Recruitment In Tang China: Reading An Annual Programme In The Collected Statements By Wang Dingbao (870-940). BRILL. pp. 35–. ISBN 90-04-13937-0.
  24. William H. Nienhauser (2010). Tang Dynasty Tales: A Guided Reader. World Scientific. pp. 78–. ISBN 978-981-4287-28-9.
  25. David R. Knechtges; Taiping Chang (10 September 2010). Ancient and Early Medieval Chinese Literature (vol.I): A Reference Guide, Part One. BRILL. pp. 544–. ISBN 90-04-19127-5.
  26. Steven Heine; Dale Wright (22 April 2010). Zen Masters. Oxford University Press. pp. 4–. ISBN 978-0-19-971008-9.
  27. Baxter, Wm. H. & Sagart, Laurent. "Baxter–Sagart Old Chinese Reconstruction". (1.93 MB), p. 9. 2011. Accessed 11 October 2011.
  28. Gail Hershatter (1996). Gail Hershatter, ed. Remapping China: fissures in historical terrain (illustrated ed.). Stanford University Press. p. 102. ISBN 0-8047-2509-8. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  • Yuan (袁), Yida (義達) (2002). Chinese Surnames, Group Heredity and Spread of Population (中国姓氏·群体遗传和人口分布). Huadong Training College Publishing Group (華東師範大學出版社). ISBN 7-5617-2769-0. 
  • Zhang (臧), Lihe (勵和) (1998). The Great Dictionary of Chinese Names (中國人名大辭典), updated by Xu Shitian (許師慎). The Commercial Press (商務印書館). ISBN 7-100-02555-9. 
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