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10 endangered Chinese surnames

Chinese surnames, learning Chinese, Legend of Mi Yue

Many people have learnt the new Chinese character "芈 (mǐ)" since the TV play "Legend of Mi Yue (芈月传)" became a hit in China. Indeed, it's quite understandable not knowing how to pronounce "芈 (mǐ)", as few have ever seen the surname "芈 (mǐ)", a rather uncommon character in modern Chinese.

最近《芈月传》正在热播,不少人表示又学到了一个新字:芈。确实,不知道芈字怎么念情有可原,姓芈的人,如今大家都没有见过,这个字太不常用了!

 

In fact, the surname "芈 (mǐ)" used to be very common in the Zhou Dynasty, but later it gradually disappeared. For many reasons, lots of Chinese surnames including "芈 (mǐ)" have disappeared in the history as time goes by, or are about to disappear.

其实,芈姓在周朝并不少见,只是后来慢慢消失了。不仅仅是这个姓,随着时间流逝,由于种种原因,许多姓氏早已、或即将沉沦于历史长河中。

 

In this article, we have listed several surnames that are very rare or have disappeared. Have a look at these surnames:

本文整理了一些已经消失或即将消失的姓氏,一起来看看吧。

 

芈 (mǐ)

 

It was a surname for the noble from Chu State in the Zhou Dynasty, and Qu Yuan's family name was also "芈 (mǐ)". However, the descendants changed their surnames to "米 (mǐ)" or "弭 (mǐ)". Gradually, "芈 (mǐ)" was abandoned and became a rarely-used Chinese character.

周时楚国贵族的姓氏,当时的屈原也姓芈。不过后人改姓米、弭等,芈姓已经消失了,芈字也成了生僻字。

 

风 (fēng)

 

It is the oldest surname in Chinese history, but there are very few people surnamed "风 (fēng)" today.

中国历史上最古老的姓氏,但现在风姓人已经不常见了。

 

姬 (jī)

 

It was the surname of emperor as well as the national surname of the Zhou Dynasty, when many feudatory states took it as their state surname. Therefore, "姬 (jī)" was a common surname then. However, in the Tang Dynasty, most people changed their surname "姬 (jī)" to "周 (zhōu)" in order to avoid the same pronunciation with "基" in the emperor's name "李隆基 (lǐ lóng jī)", which was a taboo. Today, few people use "姬 (jī)" as their surname.

皇帝之姓,也是周朝国姓。周朝时许多诸侯国也以之为国姓,姬姓可谓非常普遍。唐朝时为避李隆基讳,绝大多数姓姬的人改姓周。如今,姬姓人总数已经不多。

 

子 (zǐ)

 

It was the surname of the royal family in the Shang Dynasty. As time goes by, many other surnames have been derived from "子 (zǐ)", while the surname "子 (zǐ)" itself is rarely seen today.

商朝帝王家族姓氏。随着时代发展,子姓派生出非常多的姓氏,但子姓本身现在已非常罕见了。

 

姒 (sì)

 

It was the surname of Da Yu as well as the national surname of the Xia Dynasty. Nowadays few people use "姒 (sì)" as their family name and it becomes an uncommon character in Chinese.

大禹的姓,也是夏朝的国姓。现代姓姒的人非常稀少,"姒"字也成了一个不常见的汉字。

 

马服 (mǎ fú)

 

In the Warring States Period, King Huiwen of the Zhao Dynasty enfeoffed Zhao She, the general who defeated the army of the Qin Dynasty a land called "马服 (mǎ fú)". Therefore, the descendants of Zhao She took "马服 (mǎ fú)" as the surname. Later this compound surname gradually became just "马 (mǎ)", which made "马服 (mǎ fú)" long gone.

战国时赵国大将赵奢大败秦军,赵惠文王因此把马服一地分封给他,赵奢的子孙后代便以马服为姓。后来,复姓马服逐渐演变为单姓马,马服这个姓就消失了。

 

王孙 (wáng sūn)

 

In the Zhou Dynasty, the emperor's grandsons who lived in the feudatory states were called "王孙 (wáng sūn)", and some of their descendants used it as the family name. After the Ming Dynasty, "王 (wáng)" or "孙 (sūn)" replaced "王孙 (wáng sūn)" as a surname.

周朝,周王之孙在诸侯国的,别称王孙,后代有的就以王孙为姓。明代以后,王或孙取代王孙成为姓氏。

 

淳于 (chún yú)

 

It originated from the name of the land enfeoffed by Emperor Wu of Zhou to Chunyu Gong, the offspring of Emperor Yan. However, the later generations changed it into "于 (yú)".

出自周武王给炎帝后代淳于公的封地,后人不少改为单姓于。

 

蛇 (shé)

 

Snakes were worshiped by the Chinese ancestors in the ancient times, and "蛇 (shé, snake)" became one of their earliest family names. Later, snakes gradually became a nightmare that frightened and disgusted people, which made most people change their surname "蛇 (shé)".

上古时代,蛇被人尊崇,成为先民最早的姓氏之一。后来,蛇逐渐成为人们恐惧、厌恶的噩梦,许多蛇姓人纷纷改姓,不再姓蛇。

 

难 (nìng)

 

As a very old family name, "难 (nìng)" originated from the "吐难氏 (tǔ nìng shì)" tribe of Xianbei (an ancient nationality in China). "难 (nìng)" is one of the most rarely-seen surnames in China, only about one thousand people are surnamed "难 (nìng)".

一个非常古老的姓氏,源自古鲜卑民族吐难氏部落。难姓是中国最少用的姓氏之一,也只有约千人。


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2016-06-21

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