Chin (surname)

Chin is a surname. As a Chinese surname or Korean surname, it could originate from various Chinese characters (including , , and ), and it is also a surname in other cultures as well.

Language(s)Chinese, Korean, English
Other names
Variant form(s)


As a Chinese surname, Chin could originate from numerous Chinese characters including the following, listed by their spelling in Mandarin Pinyin:[1]

  • Chen (traditional Chinese: ; simplified Chinese: ), spelled Chin based on its pronunciation in multiple varieties of Chinese including Hakka (Hagfa Pinyim: Cin2; IPA: /t͡sʰɨn¹¹/).[2][3] This spelling of the surname is particularly common in Jamaica, to the extent that other Jamaicans will often use the nickname "Miss Chin" to address any Chinese Jamaican woman whose name they do not know.[4]
  • Jīn (Chinese: ; IPA: /t͡ɕin⁵⁵/), spelled Chin in the Wade–Giles system used until the mid-20th century and still widespread in Taiwan.[5]
  • Jìn (Chinese: ; IPA: /t͡ɕin⁵¹/), spelled Chin in the Wade–Giles system.[6]
  • Qián (traditional Chinese: ; simplified Chinese: ), spelled Chin based on its pronunciation in Cantonese (Jyutping: Cin4; Cantonese Yale: Chìhn; IPA: /t͡sʰiːn²¹/). Written with a character meaning "money", according to tradition this originated as an occupational surname during the Western Zhou dynasty.[7]
  • Qín (Chinese: ; IPA: /t͡ɕʰin³⁵/), spelled Chin based on a simplification of the Wade–Giles spelling Ch'in. This originated as a toponymic surname, referring either to the state of Qin or to later places with the same name.[8]

As a Korean surname, Chin is the McCune–Reischauer romanisation of the four surnames more commonly spelled Jin in the Revised Romanization of Korean (Korean: ; Hanja: , , , or ; IPA: /t͡ɕin/). There is no modern Korean surname which Revised Romanization would spell as Chin ().[9][10]

As an English surname, Chin is a variant spelling of Chinn (from Middle English chinne or chyn), which originated as a nickname for people with prominent or distinctive chins.[11]


The 2000 South Korean census found 170,980 people with the four Korean surnames spelled Chin in McCune–Reischauer.[9] However, relatively few South Koreans with these surnames choose to spell them as Chin. In a study based on year 2007 application data for South Korean passports, 94.3% of the applicants with one of these surnames chose the spelling Jin for their passport, while only 4.7% chose the spelling Chin.[10]

According to statistics cited by Patrick Hanks, 1,504 people on the island of Great Britain and 17 on the island of Ireland bore the surname Chin in 2011. In 1881 there were 53 people with the surname in Great Britain, primarily at Cornwall.[1]

The 2010 United States Census found 27,487 people with the surname Chin, making it the 1,279th-most-common name overall. This represented an increase in absolute numbers, but a decrease in relative frequency, from 25,673 (1,255th-most-common) in the 2000 Census. In both censuses, slightly more than three quarters of the bearers of the surname identified as Asian, about 6% as White, and about 6% as Black.[12] It was the 50th-most-common surname among respondents to the 2000 Census who identified as Asian.[13]


Government, law, and politicsEdit


Science and engineeringEdit

  • Chin Fung Kee (1920–1990), Malaysian civil engineer
  • Roland Chin (錢大康; born 1952), Hong Kong electrical engineering professor
  • Wynne Chin (born c. 1960), American management information systems professor
  • Lynda Chin (born 1968), Chinese-born American medical doctor
  • Karen Chin (fl. 1996–present), American paleontologist and taphonomist
  • Chin Saik Yoon, Malaysian information and communication technologies scholar
  • James Chin, American public health epidemiologist


Television and filmEdit

Writers and humanities scholarsEdit


Fictional charactersEdit

  • The Crimson Chin, from American animated television series The Fairly OddParents
  • Jordi Chin, from Ubisoft's video games series Watch Dogs

See alsoEdit

  • Chin Kung (born 1927), Chinese Buddhist monk (Chin Kung is his dharma name)
  • Eusoff Chin (full name Mohamed Eusoff bin Chin, born 1936), Malaysian lawyer (Chin is a patronymic)
  • Chin Sian Thang (born 1938), chairman of the Zomi Congress for Democracy in Myanmar (Burmese names do not have surnames)
  • Botak Chin (1951–1981), Malaysian gangster (botak is an epithet meaning 'bald', and Chin is part of his given name)


  1. ^ a b Hanks, Patrick; Coates, Richard; McClure, Peter, eds. (2016). The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland. Oxford University Press. p. 494. ISBN 9780192527479.
  2. ^ Hanks, Coates & McClure 2016, p. 494, entry #11
  3. ^ 劉鎮發 [Lau Chun-fat] (1997). 《客語拼音字彙》. 中文大學出版社 Chinese University of Hong Kong Press. p. 17. ISBN 9789622017504. The exact pronunciation would vary depending on the dialect of Hakka; tone 2 in Hagfa Pinyim is a light level tone.
  4. ^ Ho Misiaszek, Kimberly S. (2019). Expanding Perceptions of Identity in The U.S.: The Chinese Jamaican Immigrant Experience. Doctoral dissertation. University of Miami. p. 57, 111. Retrieved 6 November 2020. Shibata, Yoshiko (2005). "Revisiting Chinese Hybridity: Negotiating Categories and Re-constructing Ethnicity in Contemporary Jamaica – a Preliminary Report". Caribbean Quarterly. 51 (1): 53–75. doi:10.1080/00086495.2005.11672259. JSTOR 40654493. S2CID 141701086.
  5. ^ Hanks, Coates & McClure 2016, p. 494, entry #2
  6. ^ Hanks, Coates & McClure 2016, p. 494, entry #3
  7. ^ Hanks, Coates & McClure 2016, p. 494, entry #8
  8. ^ Hanks, Coates & McClure 2016, p. 494, entry #5
  9. ^ a b "행정구역(구시군)/성씨·본관별 가구 및 인구" [Family names by administrative region (district, city, county): separated by bon-gwan, households and individuals]. Korean Statistical Information Service. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  10. ^ a b 성씨 로마자 표기 방안: 마련을 위한 토론회 [Plan for romanisation of surnames: a preparatory discussion]. National Institute of the Korean Language. 25 June 2009. p. 61. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  11. ^ Hanks, Coates & McClure 2016, p. 495
  12. ^ "How common is your last name?". Newsday. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  13. ^ "Most common last names for Asians and Pacific Islanders in the U.S." Mongabay. Retrieved 8 January 2018.