Family name origins & meanings
- Chinese : from a byname of a certain Prince Yan, who lived during the Spring and Autumn period (722–481 bc) in the state of Zheng, in modern-day Henan province. He had the bynameZiyou, and the second character of this name was adopted as a surname by his descendants.
- Chinese : altered form of the surname Shen. During the Five Dynasties period (907–960) the founder of the state of Min, in present-day Fujian province, was called Wang Shen Zhi. The character in his name forShen, , was pronounced in the same way as the character for the surname Shen, (see Shen1). This spelled danger for those named Shen, as the culture of the time regarded imitation not as as flattery, but as criminal arrogance. A solution to the problem was developed by dropping from the portion signifying water, which changed the character into,pronounced You.
- Korean : variant ofYu.