Tan (surname)

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Tan (譚/谭)
Family name
Tan name.png
Pronunciation Tan (Tagalog)
Dam (Korean)
Tam (Cantonese Chinese and Hakka Chinese)
Tham (Hokkien Chinese and Teochew Chinese)
Đàm (Vietnamese)
Ham, Tom, Thom (Toisanese Chinese)
Region of origin China
Language(s) of origin Chinese
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese

Tan, the pinyin romanization of , is the 67th most common surname in China.[1] The surname Chen based on the various Min dialects also sometimes romanizes as "Tan".


Two origins have been suggested for the Tan surname:[2]

  • The surname came from the less common surname 談, another with the same pronunciation in Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese Chinese. In order to avoid the revenge of their enemies, the clan leaders changed it to 譚.

A study by geneticist Yuan Yida has found that people with either of the two Tan surnames are especially concentrated in Hunan Province which would tend to support these accounts. This does not mean that they are the most common surnames in that province.[1]

Romanisation and pronunciation[edit]

Tan is the Chinese character's Hanyu Pinyin romanisation in Mandarin Chinese. It is pronounced and romanised differently in different languages and dialects.[3]

Prominent people[edit]




  • Jason Tom (譚志豪)
  • Kiana Tom
  • Anthony Tom-Ying (譚恩)
  • Johnson Tom-Ying Tam Tak Jun (譚德臻) Borned in Trinidad & Tobago
  • Roderick Tom-Ying (譚東豪)
  • Kenrick Tom-Ying. (譚西傑)
  • Conrad Tom-Ying. (譚掦威)

Clan villages[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b China Renews Top 100 Surnames, Li Still the Biggest , People's Daily Online (English), 11 January 2006
  2. ^ In Search of Your Asian Roots: Genealogical Research on Chinese Surnames by Sheau-yueh J Chao, published by Clearfield Co, Baltimore 2000.
  3. ^ A Practical English-Chinese Pronouncing Dictionary: English, Chinese Characters, Romanized Mandarin and Cantonese by Janey Chen, Tuttle Publishing, Hong Kong 1992.