Li (surname)

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Li is the pinyin and Wade–Giles romanization (spelled , , or when pinyin tone diacritics are used) of several distinct Chinese surnames that are written with different characters in Chinese. Li 李 is by far the most common among them, shared by 93 million people in China,[1] and more than 100 million worldwide.[2] It is the second most common Chinese surname behind Wang.[1]

Languages using the Latin alphabet do not distinguish among the different Chinese surnames, rendering them all as Li, or Lee in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and many overseas Chinese communities. In the United States, Li is the 14th most common surname among people of Asian-Pacific Islander descent and the 519th most common surname overall,[3] up from 2,084th in 1990.[4] Li is the 3rd most common Chinese surname in the Canadian province of Ontario.

List of surnames romanized as Li[edit]

  • Lǐ 理 (3rd tone), the original form of Lǐ 李, now rare. The character also means "reason" or "judge".
  • Lí 黎 (2nd tone), the 84th most common surname in China. "Lai" in Cantonese. The character also means "dark".
  • Lì 栗 (4th tone), the 249th most common surname in China. "Leut" in Cantonese. The character also means "chestnut".
  • Lì 利 (4th tone), the 299th most common surname in China. The character also means "sharp", "benefit", "profit", or "interest".
  • Lì 厲/厉 (4th tone). "Lai" in Cantonese. The character also means "strict" or "severe".
  • Lì 酈/郦 (4th tone). "Lik" in Cantonese. The character is exclusively used in proper names and has no other meaning.
  • Lì 莉 (4th tone), a rare surname of the Hui people. The character also means "jasmine".

Related surnames[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]