Meaning and Origin of: Pu

Family name origins & meanings

  • Chinese : from a Chinese character meaning ‘cattail’, a long grass that grows in ponds. A family that owned ponds containing extraordinarily long cattails came to be called by this name.
  • Chinese : see Bu.
  • Korean : there is only one Chinese character and one clan for the surname Pu. There is no historical information on the founder of this clan, but there is a legend which tells of three men who appeared from a cave on the north side of Cheju Island’s Halla Mountain. These three men were the founders of the Yang, Ko, and Pu clans. The mythological founder of the Pu clan was Pu Ŭl-la. Shortly after the three men emerged from the cave, a box washed up on the shore of the island. Inside the box were three beautiful women, horses, cows, and agricultural seed. From these beginnings, the three established Cheju Island’s T’amnaguk kingdom and ruled peacefully for centuries. Unlike the descendants of Yang and Ko, however, the descendants of Pu were for the most part content to remain on Cheju Island. A 1930 census revealed that 80% of bearers of the Pu surname were still located on Cheju Island. Pu is considered a rare surname in Korea today.