Arrow Downward Arrow Downward Close Close Done Done Cart Cart clock clock
Personal guidance

We are always happy to help you! Contact us via e-mail or Whatsapp.

If you would like us to call you back, please provide your phone number and how you can be reached. We will be happy to call you for a personal consultation. WhatsApp

Surname Chen - Meaning and Origin

all surnames with 'C'

Revising History: How iGENEA’s Genetic Testing Reconstructed My Self-Understanding and Perception of My Ancestry

There are few experiences as transformational as uncovering the hidden folds of your ancestry. Receiving my DNA test results from iGENEA placed a profound influence on my understanding of my heritage and myself.

P. Chen

read more

Chen: What does the surname Chen mean?

Chen is a common Chinese surname and the most common surname in Singapore and Taiwan. Originating from China, the name has a rich history with several meanings. Primarily, it is derived from the ancient state of Chen, which existed between the 11th to 5th century BC in what is now Henan province. Thus, it typically denotes "descendant of the people of Chen." Moreover, in Mandarin, "Chen" translates to "old," or "ancient." The surname can also be used as a given name. It is pronounced as "Chan" in Cantonese, "Chin" in Hokkien and Teochew, and "Tan" in the Chinese dialect of Hainanese. Regardless of its variations, the surname Chen is widely recognized and has associations with nobility and prestige in Chinese culture.

Order DNA origin analysis

Chen: Where does the name Chen come from?

The surname Chen has its origins in China and is one of the most common Chinese surnames. In Mandarin Chinese, it is pronounced as "Chén". The name derived from the ancient state of Chen, which was located in what is now Henan province. This state was granted to the descendants of the legendary sage king, Emperor Shun.

Chen has also been adopted by Vietnamese (spelled as Trần) and Koreans (spelled as Jin or Chin) due to China's historical widespread influence in East Asia. In 2019, Chen was the most common surname in mainland China and Taiwan.

The name is also seeing widespread use in places where the Chinese diaspora is significant such as Malaysia, Singapore, and other Southeast Asian countries. With global Chinese migration, Chen has become a common surname in many other parts of the world, including the United States.

Variations of the surname Chen

The surname Chen has its origins in China and is one of the most common surnames in the country. Variants of the surname Chen may include Chan, Chun, Chin, and Cheng. These variations are often due to regional pronunciations and the romanization of the Chinese characters. Certain families may have also adopted different spellings over time. Surnames that are of the same origin, derived from the same ancestral name, include Zhen and Tran. Zhen is the Mandarin pronunciation, while Tran is the Vietnamese version.

The Korean equivalent of Chen is Jin or Chin. In Japan, the surname is often spelled as Chin or Jin. It's important to note that while these surnames may have similar pronunciations and spellings, the corresponding characters and meanings might be quite different. For instance, the Chinese surname Chen often relates to the ancient state of Chen during the Zhou dynasty, while the Japanese surname Chin can be written with characters meaning "thousand" or "town." Not all people with these surnames might be ancestrally related.

Famous people with the name Chen

  • Chen Kaige: Renowned Chinese film director and a prominent figure in the Fifth Generation of Chinese Cinema.
  • Joan Chen: Chinese-American actress known for her roles in movies like "The Last Emperor" and TV series "Twin Peaks".
  • Jonathan Chen: Internationally recognized violinist and improviser.
  • Chen Wei-Yin: Professional baseball pitcher from Taiwan who played in Major League Baseball.
  • Cherrie Ying/Jingyi Chen: Hong Kong actress.
  • Arthur Chen: Chinese actor and son of Chen Kaige.
  • Chen Qingchen: Professional badminton player from China.
  • Julie Chen: American television personality, CBS News anchor and host of TV show "Big Brother".
  • Michelle Chen: Taiwanese actress and singer, known for her role in the film "You Are the Apple of My Eye".
  • Chen Guangcheng: Chinese civil rights activist.
  • Chen Kenichi: Japanese chef best known as the "Iron Chef Chinese" on the show "Iron Chef".
  • Bruce Chen: Panamanian professional baseball player.
  • Edwin Chen: Prominent statistician and entrepreneur.
  • Joyce Chen: Chinese-American chef renowned for popularizing northern-style Chinese cuisine in the US.
  • Chen Shui-bian: Former President of Taiwan.

Other surnames


Write comments or make additions to the name "Chen"

Your origin analysis