Lei (surname)

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雷姓 - 楷体.svg
Lei surname in regular script
PronunciationLéi (Mandarin)
Lûi (Hokkien)
Other names
Variant form(s)Lei (Mandarin)
Lui, Leoi, Lei, Loi (Cantonese)
Louie, Loui, Lui, Lei (Taishanese)
Looi, Lui (Hokkien, Teochew, Hakka, Hainanese, Foochow)
Lūi (Gan)
Derivative(s)No, Ro (Korean)
Lôi (Vietnamese)

Lei is the pinyin romanization of the Chinese surname (Léi). It is the 69th name on the Hundred Family Surnames poem.[1]

Additionally, the very common Chinese surname Li () is pronounced Lei in Standard Cantonese, and is sometimes romanized as "Lei", particularly among the Macanese.


The surname is also romanized as Lui or Looi in Hokkien and Teochew; Lui, Looi, or Loi in Cantonese; Louie or Louis in Taishanese; Lūi in Gan.

Sino-Xenic pronunciations include Lôi in Vietnamese; Roe () or Noe () in Korean; and Rai in Japanese.


雷 is the 79th-most-common surname in mainland China but not included among the 100 most common surnames on Taiwan.

In the United States, Lei is an uncommon surname, ranking 14,849th during the 1990 census and 6,583rd during the year 2000 census.[2] In order, "Roe", "Louis", "Noe", "Louie", and "Lui" were all more common than the pinyin name; Loi and Rai were quite uncommon; and Leoi was held by fewer than 100 US residents and left unlisted by the Census Bureau.[2]

In Canada, Lei and Lui were among the 200 most common peculiarly Chinese-Canadian surnames found in a 2010 study by Baiju Shah & al, which data-mined the Registered Persons Database of Canadian health card recipients in the province of Ontario.[3] Rai was found, but among the most common surnames of the Indian-Canadian community.[3]


雷 is the Chinese character for "thunder".

In Old Chinese, its pronunciation has been reconstructed as *C.rˤuj; and in Middle Chinese, as Lwoj.[4]

Persons with the surname[edit]

  • Lei Chen (1897–1979), Taiwanese politician
  • Lei Feng (1940–1962), Chinese soldier
  • Lei Jiayin (born 1983), Chinese actor
  • Lei Jieqiong (1905–2011), Chinese sociologist, activist, and politician
  • Lei Jun (born 1969), Chinese billionaire entrepreneur, founder and CEO of Xiaomi
  • Lei Sheng (born 1984), Chinese foil fencer
  • Lei Tingjie (born 1997), Chinese chess player
  • Lei Yanjun a.k.a. "Clifford Louie" (1914–1999), Chinese-American pilot and military officer in the Republic of China
  • Lei Yixin (born 1954), Chinese sculptor
  • Lei Zhengfu (born 1958), Chinese politician

See also[edit]


  1. ^ K. S. Tom. [1989] (1989). Echoes from Old China: Life, Legends and Lore of the Middle Kingdom. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-1285-9.
  2. ^ a b US Census Bureau. Op. cit. Public Broadcasting Service. "How Popular Is Your Last Name?" Accessed 6 Apr 2012.
  3. ^ a b Shah, B. R.; Chiu, M.; Amin, S.; Ramani, M.; Sadry, S.; Tu, J. V. (2010). "Surname lists to identify South Asian and Chinese ethnicity from secondary data in Ontario, Canada: A validation study". BMC Medical Research Methodology. 10: 42. doi:10.1186/1471-2288-10-42. PMC 2877682. PMID 20470433.
  4. ^ Baxter, Wm. H. & Sagart, Laurent. "Baxter–Sagart Old Chinese Reconstruction". Archived from the original on 2012-04-25. (1.93 MB), p. 88. 2011. Accessed 6 April 2012.