120 Popular Vietnamese Last Names Or Surnames, With Meanings

✔ Research-backed

The Vietnamese follow unique naming traditions. And Vietnamese last names did not even exist until the conquest of Vietnam by the Han Dynasty of China in 111 B.C. Following the conquest, the Vietnamese gradually adopted the practice of using last names (1).

We have put together a long list of common Vietnamese last names with their meanings. While most are Chinese names or derivatives of Chinese names, some can be traced back to other Asian countries. Read on to learn more about the history and roots of these surnames and get a glimpse of the country’s rich history.

In This Article

Common Vietnamese Last Names Or Surnames

1. Ai

It means “mugwort” and is a common Vietnamese name originating from China.

2. Ang

Similar to the Chinese surname Wang, it means “to rule.”

3. Anh

Derived from Sino-Vietnamese, anh means “flower.”

4. Au

This Vietnamese surname reflects calmness and serenity as it means “peace.” It is of Chinese and Vietnamese origin and may also refer to a “stream.”

5. Banh

It is a variant of the name Peng, which is of Chinese origin. It means “big.”

6. Bao

The last name Bao, although of Chinese origin, is one of the popular names in Vietnam. It means “treasure.”

protip_icon Trivia
The surname Bao is also spelt as Pao. It is believed to be derived from the Mongolian surname, Borjigin.

7. Bi

It is a Chinese last name used to refer to those living in the West. It means “finish.”

8. Bui

Bui is a surname inspired by nature. It has Chinese and Korean origins, and means “plum.”

9. Cam

Meaning “sweet,” Cam is of Chinese origin. This last name is a variant of Kam.

10. Can

Derived from French, the last name Can means “hound.”

11. Cao

Cao is a popular Chinese surname and is the Romanized version of Tsao. It means “defendant” and was one of the departments of the central government in Ancient China.

12. Chau

The surname Chau is of Vietnamese and Chinese origin. It is a variant of the Chinese Chow and means “pearl.”

13. Che

This is a Chinese origin name dating back to the Han Dynasty. It means “cart” as it was inspired by a Chinese Prime Minister who commuted to work in a cart.

14. Chi

The last name Chi originates from the Bemba Tribe. It also has Chinese origins where it means “pond.”

15. Chu

This name originated in China and is the name of a state of the Zhou Dynasty.

16. Co

The common Vietnamese surname Co is of Chinese origin. It means “to praise.”

17. Cong

This popular name of Chinese origin has its prominence in Vietnam too. It means “bush.”

18. Dai

With origins in Chinese, the Vietnamese name Dai means “to support.”

19. Dan

Dan is a beautiful Vietnamese surname with Biblical touch to it. The name means “God is my judge” in Hebrew and in Chinese, it means “indifferent.”

20. Dang

This Chinese surname originates from a branch of the Zhou dynasty. It means “association.”

21. Dau

The surname Dau is taken from Old German and it means “tradition.”

22. Dinh

The Vietnamese surname Dinh is uncommon,. It means encampment and has origins in Vietnamese.

23. Doan

Meaning “at the down,” Doan is a topographical surname. Doan is a prestigious name as people bearing it were considered as the protectors of the nation.

24. Don

This popular Vietnamese name takes its inspiration from the English word Don. It means “ruler of the world.”

25. Du

It means “birch leaf pear” and is of Chinese origin.

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In Chinese and Korean, Duong is written as Yang, while in Cantonese, it is written as Yeung.

26. Duong

The Chinese originated Vietnamese surname Duong means “popular.”

27. Duy

This name is popular in Vietnam and means “save.”

28. Giang

Giang means river, Vietnamese last name

Image: IStock

This name is of Sino-Vietnamese origin. It means “river.”

29. Hai

Hai is a surname that originated from Chinese and is often referred to as a Sino-Vietnamese name. It means “ocean.”

30. Ho

It is common Chinese surname that means “together.”

31. Hoa

Meaning “perfect,” this is a Chinese origin last name.

32. Hoang

Hoang in Chinese and Vietnamese means “yellow.” It is one of the most popular surnames.

33. Hong

It means “flood” and is also the name of a popular Chinese dynasty. Gongongshi took over the surname Gong, but to escape from enemies, they had to change it to Hong.

34. Hua

This is a topographical Vietnamese name of Chinese origin. It refers to the habitats of the people from Mount Hua in China.

35. Hue

Meaning “to praise,” this Vietnamese name has origins in China.

36. Huu

Meaning “friend,” Huu is a common Sino-Vietnamese name.

37. Huy

The Chinese origin surname, Huy is popular in Vietnam and means “to promise.”

38. Huynh

This is another variant of the Chinese and Vietnamese origin last name Hoang. It means “yellow.”

39. Hy

Of Chinese origin, the name Hy means “to praise.”

40. Kha

This Chinese origin name is popular among overseas Chinese communities, who have migrated from China. The meaning also represents division as it means “tree branch.”

41. Khanh

The name is prominent in Vietnam and means “resembling a precious stone.”

42. Khong

The surname Khong is quite popular in Vietnam. It is similar to the Chinese and Korean name Kong, which means “peaceful.”

43. Khuu

Khuu is derived from the Chinese surname Qiu, which means “autumn.”

44. Kien

The Sien-Vietnamese surname Kien means “hard.”

45. Kieu

Although Kieu is used as a first name for females, it is also considered a unisexual surname. It is of Vietnamese origin and means “graceful.”

46. Kim

This is a Korean origin surname, which also has a variant Keum. It means “gold.”

47. Ky

The surname Ky is of Vietnamese origin and it means “good luck.”

48. Lac

Lac is a common Vietnamese name of Chinese origin. This name is popular among the emigrants of China. It means “camel.”

49. Lai

This surname of Chinese origin is common in many East-Asian countries. It means “trustworthy.”

50. Lam

Inspired by the Chinese surname Luo, Lam means “to gather.”

51. Lavan

This Hebrew origin name means “white.’

52. Le

The name Le has origins in Vietnam. It was the name of the popular Le Dynasty.

53. Liang

Liang is bridge in Vietnamese

Image: IStock

Liang, is a name of the ancient Chinese dynasty. Also, popular as a Vietnamese surname, it means “bridge.”

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The surname Liang is written as per its Cantonese and Hakka pronunciation Leung in Hong Kong and Leong in Macau, Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore.

54. Lieu

This prevalent surname of Vietnamese origin means “willow tree.” It is also the first name given to Vietnamese baby girls.

55. Linh

Derived from Vietnamese, this common family last name means “spirit.”

56. Lo

Lo in Chinese means “to sift.”

57. Loi

It means “thunder” and is a common last name in China and Vietnam.

58. Lu

It is a Chinese surname meaning “road.”

59. Luong

The surname Luong oscillates between Vietnamese and Chinese origins. It is similar to the Chinese surname Long which means “dragon.”

60. Luu

It is a variant of the Chinese surname Liu and is popular in East Asia. This surname refers to a “battle-ax.”

61. Ly

The Vietnamese surname Ly means “reason.”

62. Ma

It is a popular Chinese surname that is also common in Vietnam, and it means “horse.”

63. Mac

Mac is a surname of Vietnamese and Scottish origins. In its Gaelic version, it means “son.” The name is popular in Vietnam due to the clan named Mac who ruled Northern Vietnam during the 16th century.

64. Mai

Mai is of Vietnamese origin and means “to flaunt.”

65. Manh

The name is popular among Chinese communities that migrated to Vietnam. This name refers to the “eldest amongst brothers.”

66. Minh

Similar to the Chinese Ming, this Vietnamese surname means “bright.”

67. Nam

Nam is a common Korean originating family name, meaning “south.”

68. Ng

Meaning “to fall through,” this name is of Chinese origin.

69. Ngo

The surname Ngo has Chinese ancestry. It is a variant of the Chinese Ao which means “squad of five soldiers.”

70. Ngoc

Ngoc is a name of Sino-Vietnamese origin and means “precious.”

71. Ngu

This popular Chinese origin Vietnamese surname means “to anticipate.”

72. Nguy

Nguy means “to endanger.” It has Chinese origins.

73. Nguyen

Derived from the Chinese Ruan, it is the name of a Vietnamese royal dynasty. Many Vietnamese changed their names to Nguyen as a symbol of loyalty towards the Nguyen dynasty. This surname refers to a “musical instrument.”

Angel Xie, a blogger, recounts an experience she had regarding how many people are aware of the most common Vietnamese surname, Nguyen. He says, “When I lived in Michigan in 2006, I met a very friendly and chatty white man in his 60s in a restaurant. Upon finding out one of my friends was ethnically Vietnamese, he immediately asked if her last name was Nguyen. When my friend told him otherwise, he was not only disappointed but even slightly offended that his ‘Asian insight’ was disputed. He challenged: ‘How could it be? Don’t all Vietnamese have the last name of Nguyen? (i).”

74. Nhan

The name is popular as both surname and middle name. It is of Chinese origin and means “former.”

75. Nhu

This name is common as a first name and last name in Vietnam. It means “alike.”

76. Nong

Nong is a common Chinese origin occupational surname in Vietnam. It means “peasant.”

77. O

This popular surname O has been carried on by the famous clans of Vietnam. This surname is a variant of the Chinese Wu and the Korean Oh.

78. On

As a variant of Ahn, the Vietnamese last name On means “peace.”

79. Ong

It is a Chinese surname that is a variant of Vuong meaning “yellow.”

80. Peng

The last name Pe and its variant Peng, common in Vietnam, are Chinese last names meaning “long.”

81. Pham

This surname has its roots in Vietnamese and Chinese. It means “extensive.”

protip_icon Quick tip
One of the most common Vietnamese surnames, Pham, is similar to Fan in Chinese or Beom in Korean.

82. Phan

Phan, alternatively spelled as Fan, is a surname of Chinese origin. It means “fence.”

83. Phong

With its origin in Vietnamese, Phong means “wind.” It is also used as a first name.

84. Phoung


This Vietnamese origin name means “Phoenix.”

85. Phung

Alternatively known as Pung and Fung, this Chinese origin surname means “great.”

86. Quach

Quach is a Vietnamese surname that has variants in Chinese, Cantonese, and Japanese. Guo, Kuoko, and Gwak are its other Asian variants. It is a habitational last name referring to someone “living near the outer city wall.”

87. Son

Alternatively called Sohn or Shon, this last name is of Korean origin. It was originally the name of a clan, who were named after the Sun.

88. Su

This name is of Chinese origin and means “constellation.”

89. Ta

It means “thank you.” This surname was opted by Southern Chinese who moved to Vietnam.

90. Tan

This is a Chinese surname and means “to display.”

91. Thai

This is a habitational name, which means it refers to someone “hailing from Thailand.”

92. Tham

It means “famous” and is a Vietnamese origin name.

93. Than

Than is a name of Burmese origin and is also popular around Asia. It means “million.”

94. Thang

The Chinese origin Vietnamese surname Thang means “rushing current.”

95. Thanh

The surname Thanh is known in Chinese and Vietnamese communities. It means “sound.”

96. Thi

This is a Sino-Vietnamese last name that means “poetry.”

97. Thong

Of Chinese origin, the surname Thong means “intelligent.”

98. Thu

Thu is a Sino-Vietnamese surname, mostly common in Vietnam and means “autumn.”

99. Thuy

The last name Thuy has its origins in Vietnamese and means “water.”

100. Tien

According to the Vietnamese, Tien is a “fairy.”

101. Ton

This name originates from the Chinese community settled in Malaysia. It means “descendant.”

102. Tong

Tong is a topographical name for “someone living in the center of the land.”

103. Tran

Tran is the Vietnamese variant of the Koran Jin and the Chinese Chen. It means “ancient.”

104. Trang

This name is popular among Vietnamese with Chinese ancestry. It means “serious.”

105. Tri

This is an Indonesian origin name that means “third.”

106. Trieu

Being similar to the Chinese surname Zhao, which was one of the seven states of the Warring States, Trieu is its Vietnamese version.

107. Trinh

The popular Chinese and Vietnamese surname Trinh means “to rule.”

108. Troung

This Chinese surname refers to “a sheet of paper.”

109. Trung

This name has origins in Vietnamese and means “middle.”

110. Tu

The name is derived from the Chinese military city of Zoutu, which gave rise to two surnames Zou and Tu. It is a popular Chinese surname and is similar to the surname Du, meaning “capital.”

111. Tuan

This Chinese-derived Vietnamese surname means “chivalrous.”

112. Quang

The name is of Vietnamese origin and means “clear.”

113. Quoc

Quoc means country, Vietnamese last name

Image: IStock

With origins in both Chinese and Vietnamese, Quoc means “country.”

114. Van

It has Dutch origins and is commonly used as a prefix to surnames. This last name is prepositional as it means “from” and “of.”

115. Vi

Vi is the last name of Chinese origin that is popular overseas. It means “soft leather.”

116. Vo

Vo is a popular name among the Chinese and Vietnamese communities. It is a surname of unity as it means “harmonious.”

117. Vu

Vu is a variant of the Chinese surname Wu and means “shaman.”

118. Voong

This Vietnamese surname means “king.”

119. Vuong

Derived from the Chinese Wang it means “to rule.”

120. Yen

Originating in Chinese, this Vietnamese name means “quiet.”

Discover More Names

When you have to choose a name for your baby, a few hundreds of names may not be just enough. Keep digging our mine of baby names until you find that one precious gem.

vietnamese last name_illustration

Image: Stable Diffusion/MomJunction Design Team

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is the last name first in Vietnam?

Vietnamese put their surnames first, followed by a middle and personal name. These surnames may or may not be connected to the family’s history.

2. Do Vietnamese women take their husbands’ last names?

Vietnamese women may not take their husbands’ names after marriage. They tend to continue with their family name. However, some women may follow the western style and adopt the husband’s family name.

3. How did Vietnamese last names originate?

Vietnamese last names have a rich history and diverse origins that spans several centuries. Vietnam has a long history of Chinese influence, reflecting various aspects of Vietnamese culture, including language and naming practices. However, Vietnam also had indigenous naming traditions, including a matrilineal system, which gradually diminished under Chinese influence. In addition, social changes, regional variations, and historical events further formed distinct Vietnamese last names. Today, Vietnamese surnames represent a rich tapestry of linguistic, cultural, and historical influences, serving as a testament to the country’s intricate heritage.

4. How do Vietnamese people address each other using their last names?

In Vietnamese culture, people typically address each other using their given names rather than their last names. However, in formal or professional settings, Vietnamese people often address each other using appropriate titles followed by the given name.

Vietnamese names are usually composed of three parts: a patrilineal or family name (the mother’s or father’s family name or a combination of both), a middle name, and a given name. In the Vietnamese culture, women keep their family name after they are married. Ho Chi Minh, Nguyen Hue (Emperor Quang Trung), Bao Dai, Bich Minh Nguyen, and Bui Bich Phuong are the names of some popular Vietnamese people. If you are not fixed on selecting a unique Vietnamese name for your child, you could use the suggested names as per your tradition and preference.

Infographic: Vietnamese Last Names Derived From Other Countries

China has a great influence in Vietnam that can be seen in their cultures and even in their names and surnames. But there are still some popular Vietnamese surnames derived from different origins other than China. Let’s take a look at the infographic below to broaden your knowledge and understanding of some of these surnames.

vietnamese surnames with meanings and origin (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Most people need help pronouncing Vietnamese names. Here is a video to learn 20 standard Vietnamese titles and their correct pronunciation.

Personal Experience: Source


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  1. Two-fifths of the people in Vietnam have the surname Nguyen. Why?; University of Pennsylvania
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Shikha is a writer-turned-editor at MomJunction, with over seven years of experience in the field of content. Having done a certification in Relationship Coaching, her core interest lies in writing articles that guide couples through their courtship to marriage and parenthood.
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