Choi (Korean; Hanja) is a Korean family surname. As of the South Korean census of 2015, there were around 2.3 million people by this name in South Korea or roughly 4.7% of the population.[1] In English-speaking countries, it is most often anglicized Choi, and sometimes also Chey, Choe or Chwe. Ethnic Koreans in the former USSR prefer the form Tsoi (Tsoy) especially as a transcription of the Cyrillic Цой.

Pronunciation[tɕʰwe] or [tɕʰø]
MeaningBest, Top, Most, Pinnacle
Region of originKorea
Other names
Alternative spellingCh'oe, Tsoi, Chye, Chwe, Chey
Variant form(s)Cui, Thôi
Revised RomanizationChoe
54% of Korean people bear the family name Kim, Lee, Park, Choi, Jeong, or variants thereof.
  Kim, Gim
  Lee, Yi, Rhee
  Park, Pak
  Jung, Jeong, Chung, Cheong

Origin edit

  • According to Samguk Sagi, the Gyeongju clan originates from chief Sobeoldori (소벌도리, 蘇伐都利) of Goheochon (고허촌, 高墟村), one of six villages that united to found Silla; The Gyeongju clan traces their origin back to Choi Chiwon (857–10th century), a noted Korean scholar, philosopher, and poet of the late Unified Silla period (668–935).
  • One theory of origin suggests that Haeju clan's progenitor Choi Choong (최충, 崔沖, 984–1068) was given the surname 崔 during the reign of Goryeo king Mokjong.
  • The progenitor of the Chungju clan is General Choi Seung (최승, 崔陞), also known as Choi Woo (최우, 崔偶), of Silla (known as Cui Sheng in the Tang dynasty)
  • The progenitor of the Nangju clan is Choi Heun (최흔, 崔昕) of Silla who was a native of Yeongam (Nangju) of the southern Jeolla region.
  • Choi Ri (최리, 崔理), who was known as the leader of the Kingdom of Nakrang

Clans edit

There are roughly 160 clans of Chois.[citation needed] Most of these are quite small. However, Choi is the 4th most common surname in Korea. The largest by far is the Gyeongju Choi clan, with a 2000 South Korean population of 976,820. The Gyeongju Choe claim the Silla scholar Choe Chi-won as their founder.[2]

Haeju Choi clan family seal

Etymology and Pronunciation edit

Choi is written with the Hanja character , meaning "a governor who oversees the land and the mountain".

In Korean, 최 is usually pronounced [tɕʰwe] "Chwe" or “Chey” except by some older speakers who pronounce it [tɕʰø] (this vowel sound is similar to the German ö [ø]). In English, it is most often pronounced /ˈɔɪ/ "Choy", which sounds clearly different to its proper pronunciation but some go by “Chey”.

Prominent people of the past edit

  • Choe Chiwon (858-c. 910), Korean philosopher during the Silla dynasty
  • Choe Chung-heon (1149-1219), military dictator of the Goryeo period
  • Choe U (???-1249), military dictator of the Goryeo period
  • Choe Yeong (1316–1388), military general under King Gongmin of Goryeo
  • Choe Mu-seon (1325-1395), Korean inventor
  • Choe Manri (???-1445), an early critic of hangul
  • Choe Sejin (1465-1542), mostly known for his 1525 훈몽자회, aka Hangul for beginners.
  • Choe Yeong-kyeong (1529-1590), Westerner, purged during the Gichuk Oksa
  • Suk-bin Choe (1670–1718), concubine of Sukjong and mother of Yeongjo of Joseon[4]
  • Choe Han-gi (1803-1877), Korean Confucian scholar and philosopher
  • Choe Je-u (1824-1864), founder of the Donghak movement

Prominent people today edit

General edit

Politicians edit

Arts edit

General edit

Actors and actresses edit

Musicians and idols edit

Sports edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "2015년 인구주택총조사 전수집계결과 보도자료" [Results of the 2015 Census of Population and Housing survey]. Korean Statistical Information Service. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p 최 崔 [Choe] (in Korean). Doosan Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2009-09-18.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ 최세진 崔世珍 [Choe Se-jin] (in Korean). Encyclopedia of Korean Culture. Retrieved 2009-09-18.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Note: suk-bin is a Joseon title, not a given name

External links edit