Lü (surname)

Lǚ 吕/呂
Pronunciationlǚ (Mandarin)
leui (Cantonese)
Language(s)Old Chinese
Word/nameLü (state)
Other names
Variant form(s)Lữ (Vietnamese), Lu, Lv, Lui
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese

(Mandarin: [ly˧˩˧]) is the pinyin (Lǚ with the tone diacritic) and Wade–Giles romanisation of the Chinese surname written in simplified character and in traditional character. It is the 47th most common surname in China,[1] shared by 5.6 million people, or 0.47% of the Chinese population as of 2002.[2] It is especially common in Shandong and Henan provinces.[2]

The surname originated from the ancient State of Lü. Lü Shang (fl. 11th century BC), the founder of the State of Qi, was the first person known to have the surname.

It is 22nd on the Hundred Family Surnames, contained in the verse 何呂施張 (He Lü Shi Zhang).[3]


Lü is the standard pinyin spelling of the Chinese character 吕/呂. However, when input of the umlaut is not possible, the surname is commonly romanized as Lu or Lv (v being the pinyin input shorthand for ü).[4] On 31 October 2011, the National Standardization Committee of China issued The Chinese phonetic alphabet spelling rules for Chinese names, which stipulates that Lü should be spelled Lyu in such situation. The rule came into effect on 1 February 2012.[4][5] In Cantonese the name is commonly romanized as Lui.


Jiang clan

The surname Lü originated from the Jiang 姜 clan, which is said to have descended from the legendary Yan Emperor. According to the Tang Dynasty genealogy text Yuanhe Xing Zuan, a branch of the Jiang clan was enfeoffed at the State of Lü by Yu the Great, the legendary founder of the Xia Dynasty.[6]

The Jiang clan was a close ally and frequent marriage partner of the Ji clan, which conquered the Shang Dynasty to establish the Zhou Dynasty in 1046/45 BC. Lü Shang, also known as Jiang Ziya, was the first person known in history to have the surname Lü.[6] A member of the Lü lineage of the Jiang clan, he was a top general who led the Zhou army to decisively defeat the Shang at the historic Battle of Muye. Another important general during the battle, Lü Ta, was also from the Lü lineage of the Jiang clan.[7] After the establishment of Zhou, Lü Shang was enfeoffed at the State of Qi in modern Shandong province, which later became one of the major states of the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods. Lü Shang, posthumously named Duke Tai of Qi, is considered an original ancestor of the Lü surname.[8]

During the Western Zhou period, the State of Lü was located near the Zhou court in modern Shaanxi. Inscriptions on many excavated bronzes from the period show that the Lü lineage played an active role in the Zhou court. Several people named Lü, including Lü Xing, Lü Gang, Lü Bo, and Lü Fuyu, were separately recorded to have participated in military campaigns, sometimes accompanying the Zhou king.[9] The state was later relocated to the Nanyang basin, in present-day southern Henan, during the late Western Zhou.[9] During the Spring and Autumn period, Lü was annexed by the State of Chu, a rising power in the south. Many people of Lü adopted the name of their former state as their surname.[10]

Ji clan

A different, later origin of Lü was from the Wei (魏) lineage of the Ji (姬) surname. During the Spring and Autumn period, Prince Chong'er was exiled from the Jin and one of his followers was Wei Wuzi (魏武子). Chong'er later ascended the throne of Jin in 636 BC and became the Hegemon of China. Wei Wuzi's son, Wei Qi (魏锜) was given the fiefs of Lü and Chu (厨). Many of his descendants changed their surname to Lü.[8]

Later adoption

During the Xianbei Northern Wei dynasty, Emperor Xiaowen (reigned 467–499 AD) implemented a drastic policy of sinicization, ordering his own people to adopt Chinese surnames. The Chilü (叱吕) clan of Xianbei adopted Lü as their surname. The Xianbei people have since completely assimilated into the Han Chinese.[8]

People from many other ethnic minorities in China have also adopted Lü as their surname, including the Manchu, Li, Tu, Mongols, Tujia, and the Koreans.[8]

Notable people


  1. ^ 最新版百家姓排行榜出炉:王姓成中国第一大姓 [Latest surname ranking: Wang is the number one surname in China]. Xinhua News Agency (in Chinese). 2013-04-15. Archived from the original on 2013-05-20. Retrieved 2014-02-11.
  2. ^ a b Yuan, Yida; Zhang, Cheng (2002). 中国姓氏: 群体遗传和人口分布 [Chinese surnames: group genetics and distribution of population] (in Chinese). East China Normal University Press. p. 87. ISBN 9787561727690.
  3. ^ "百家姓" [Hundred Family Surnames] (in Chinese). Guoxue. Retrieved 2014-02-05.
  4. ^ a b ""吕"字有了正式英文名"LYU"". Sina (in Chinese). 2012-10-11. Retrieved 2014-02-11.
  5. ^ "中国人名汉语拼音字母拼写规则 (国家标准编号: GB/28039―2011)" [The Chinese phonetic alphabet spelling rules for Chinese names] (PDF) (in Chinese). Chinese Ministry of Education. 2011-10-31. Retrieved 2014-02-05.
  6. ^ a b 吕姓起源,名人及家谱 [Origin and famous people of the Lü surname] (in Chinese). Shangdu. 2008-07-17. Archived from the original on 2014-05-10. Retrieved 2014-02-11.
  7. ^ Yang Kuan (2003). History of the Western Zhou (in Chinese). Shanghai People's Publishing House. p. 100. ISBN 978-7-208-04538-5.
  8. ^ a b c d Qian, Wenzhong (2013-07-06). 钱文忠解读"百家姓":姜姓和吕姓有很大的渊源 (in Chinese). People's Daily. Retrieved 2014-02-11.
  9. ^ a b Li, Feng (2006). Landscape and Power in Early China: The Crisis and Fall of the Western Zhou 1045-771 BC. Cambridge University Press. pp. 228–230. ISBN 9781139456883.
  10. ^ 呂姓來源及郡望堂號 [Origin and prominent clans of the Lü surname] (in Chinese). Taiwan.cn. 2008-05-30. Retrieved 2014-02-11.

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