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For other uses, see Liu (disambiguation).
Liu surname in regular script
Pronunciation Liú (Pinyin)
Lâu (Pe̍h-ōe-jī)
Language(s) Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese
Language(s) Old Chinese
Derivation Surname of the Han Dynasty's ruling family
Other names
Variant(s) Liu (Mandarin)
Liew, Lieu (Hakka)
Lau, Lao, Lowe(Cantonese, Hokkien, Teochew)
Lưu (Vietnamese)
Yoo (Korean)
See also Yoo (Korean name)
See also: Lü (surname) and Yu

(Lao, Lau, Low, Lauv, Liew, Liu, Loo, Lowe, Liou or Yu) is a common Chinese family name. The Liu as transcribed in English can represent several different surnames written in different Chinese characters:

  • / , pinyin: Liú. A very common surname, as it was the family name of Han Dynasty emperors.
  • pinyin: Liǔ in mandarin, Lau : Cantonese
  • pinyin: Liú in mandarin, Lau : Cantonese
  • pinyin: Liù in mandarin, Lyuk : Cantonese
  • Cantonese pinyin: Liu 6, Mandarin : Liao, Wu

In Cantonese transliteration, 刘/劉 (Liú) is Lau, Lao is also transliteration of 刘/劉 in Min Nan and Taiwanese Minnan Chinese language, whilst Liu is a different surname, , pinyin: Liào, (Liêu in Vietnamese).

In Teochew, 刘/劉 is usually romanized as Lau, Low or Lao; 柳 is written as Lew; and 廖 is romanized as Leow or Liau.

In Hakka, 刘/劉 is most commonly transliterated as Liew while 廖 is written as Liau or Liaw. The other variants of the romanised surname Liu, i.e. 柳, 留 and 六, are uncommon among speakers of Hakka.

In Vietnamese, the name can either take the form Liễu (in northern regions), corresponding to 柳 in Chinese, or Lưu (in central or southern regions), corresponding to 刘/劉 or 留 in Chinese. The family name 六 is Lục in Vietnamese. A few having Vietnamese-Chinese descent use the family name Lao while Indonesian-Chinese descent Latinise it according to Dutch pronunciation as Lauw.

Origin of Liu[edit]

劉 or 刘 (Liu, Lao, Lau, Low, Lew, Lowe, Lauv,Luu, Ryu, Yu, Yoo)[edit]

留 (Liu, Lau, Low, Lauv, Yu)[edit]

柳 (Liu, Lew, Lao, Ryu, Yu)[edit]

廖 (Liao, Liu, Leow, Lia, Yu)[edit]

See also: Liao (surname)

Prominent people with the family name 刘 / 劉 (Liú, Lao or Lau)[edit]


  • Liu Bang Founding emperor of the Han dynasty
  • Liu Xiu Restorer of the Han dynasty
  • Liu Hong(155 - 189) Emperor of the Han dynasty
  • Liu Xie(181 - 234) Last emperor of the Han dynasty
  • Liu Bei (161 - 223) Warlord in the late Han Dynasty and founding emperor of Shu Han
  • Liu Shan (207 - 271) Second emperor of Shu Han
  • Liu Ye (163 - 232) Official and politician of Cao Wei
  • Liu Ba (186 - 222) Official and politician of Shu Han
  • Liu Biao (142 - 208) Warlord in the late Han dynasty
  • Liu Yuan Founding emperor of Han Zhao
  • Liu Yu Founding emperor of Liu Song
  • Liu Yan Founding emperor of Southern Han
  • Liu Zhiyuan Founding emperor of Later Han
  • Liu Chong Founding emperor of Northern Han
  • Liu Ji, military strategist, statesman and prophet
  • Liu Bin-Di, Chinese Muslim intelligence officer
  • Liu Shifu, Chinese revolutionary and anarchist


Prominent people with family name 柳 (Liǔ)[edit]

Liu-Imperial Surname of China(刘)[edit]

Royal house
Preceded by
Imperial Surname of All China
202 BC – 9 AD
Succeeded by
Imperial Surname of All China
23 AD – 220 AD
Succeeded by


External links[edit]

See also[edit]