Gao (surname)

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Stroke order of the Gao surname
PronunciationGāo (Pinyin)
Ko (Pe̍h-ōe-jī)
Gou1 (Jyutping)
Language(s)Old Chinese
Meaninghigh, tall
Other names
Variant form(s)Gao, Kao (Mandarin)
Ko, Kou (Cantonese, Hokkien)
Derivative(s)Cao, Ko

Gao (Chinese: ) is an East Asian surname of Chinese origin that can be literally translated as "high" or "tall". There are approximately 16 million living people with this surname. Some places, such as Taiwan, usually romanise this family name into Kao. In Hong Kong, it is romanized to Ko. In Macau, it is romanized to Kou. In Singapore, it is romanized to Kwok. In 2019 it was the 19th most common surname in Mainland China.[1]

Romanisation and pronunciation[edit]

Dialect or Format Transliteration or Pronunciation
Mandarin Gāo (Hanyu pinyin); Kao1 (Wade-Giles)
Cantonese Gou1 (Jyutping)
Minnan Ko (Peh-oe-ji)
Vietnamese Cao
Korean Ko (McCune–Reischauer), Go (Revised Romanization)


According to Lüshi Chunqiu, the earliest figure with the Gao surname was Gao Yuan (高元) who created dwellings in antiquity.[2] Zhuanxu, the grandson of the Yellow Emperor, was also known as Gao Yang (高陽).

Another origin of Gao is the Jiang (姜) surname. According to the Song dynasty encyclopedia Tongzhi, an early ancestor was Gao Xi (高傒) who was granted the surname Gao in honour of his grandfather Prince Gao (公子高).[3] Prince Gao was the son of Duke Wen of the state of Qi whose ancestral name was Jiang (姜).[4]

Many non-Han Chinese used the surname Gao:

Notable people[edit]







  1. ^ "新京报 - 好新闻,无止境".
  2. ^ 《呂氏春秋·勿躬篇》 Original text: 高元作室。
  3. ^ Tongzhi: 《通志·氏族略》 记载,春秋时,齐国公子高的孙子,开始以“高”为氏,称高。
  4. ^ Fu Chinjiang (2007). Origins of Chinese Names. Asiapac Books. p. 58. ISBN 978-9812294623.
  5. ^ National Institute of Korean History. 三國史記 卷第二十八 百濟本紀 第六. National Institute of Korean HistoryDatabase.
  6. ^ National Institute of Korean History. 三國史記 卷第十八 髙句麗本紀 第六. National Institute of Korean HistoryDatabase.
  7. ^ 한국인문고전연구소 원문과 함께 읽는 삼국사기 의자왕 義慈王. 한국인문고전연구소.
  8. ^ 한국인문고전연구소 원문과 함께 읽는 삼국사기 광개토왕 廣開土王. 한국인문고전연구소.
  9. ^ 金光林 (2014). A Comparison of the Korean and Japanese Approaches to Foreign Family Names (PDF). Journal of Cultural Interaction in East Asia Vol.5 Society for Cultural Interaction in East Asia.p30
  10. ^ Breuker, Remco. (2014). Establishing a Pluralist Society in Medieval Korea, 918-1170 : History, Ideology, and Identity in the Koryŏ Dynasty. Brill. ISBN 9789004190122. OCLC 1049569237.

External links[edit]