Last name origins & meanings:

  1. Chinese: from the name of the ancient state of Wu in what is now Jiangsu province. In the 13th century bc, the state of Zhou was ruled by Tai Wang, who had three sons: Tai Bo, Zhong Yong, and Ji Li. The eldest sons, Tai Bo and Zhong Yong, believing that their father wished the youngest son, Ji Li, to inherit the reins of power, left the Zhou homeland with a group of followers and traveled southeastward to east-central China, where they established the state of Wu. Their descendants eventually adopted Wu as their surname. Ji Li stayed on to rule the Zhou and became the father of the famed virtuous duke Wu Wang, to whom those named Zhou (see Chow) trace their ancestry. Thus, the surnames Wu and Zhou are traced to the same ancestor, Tai Wang.
  2. Chinese: Cantonese variant of Hu.
  3. Chinese: from the name of Ji Wu, a son of Ping Wang (770–719 bc), the first king of the Eastern Zhou dynasty. His descendants adopted the given name Wu as their surname.
  4. Chinese: from the name of Wu Can, an official of the state of Chu during the Spring and Autumn period (722–481 bc). At one time, the states of Chu and Jin were at war. The general of Chu viewed the strong position of the Jin and recommended retreat. However, a minor official, Wu Can, performed an analysis of the situation which concluded that an attack would be better. The prince of Chu agreed with Wu Can, which resulted in a victory over the Jin. Wu Can then became a senior official and used part of his given name, Wu, as his new surname.
  5. Chinese: from the name of Wu Peng, doctor of the legendary emperor Huang Di (2697–2595 bc).
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