1) 殷 (pinyin: Yin). The name of the first historic Chinese nation (1600 BC - 1046 BC), the capital of the latter half being in Yin 殷. Also known in the West as the Shang Dynasty 商朝. The first recording of an advanced stage of Chinese characters on turtle shells has also been dated to the Yin Dynasty. The Yin left written historic records containing information on the politics, economy, culture, religion, geography, astronomy, calendar, art and medicine of the period, and as such provides critical insight toward the early stages of the Chinese civilization. The site of the Yin capital, later historically called the Ruins of Yin 殷墟, is near modern day Anyang 安阳. Archaeological work uncovered 11 major Yin royal tombs to the northwest, while the foundations of palace and ritual sites were discovered to the south. Tens of thousands of bronze, jade, stone, bone and ceramic artifacts were obtained. In terms of inscribed oracle bones alone, more than 20,000 were discovered. Many Chinese characters found in the inscriptions at the Ruins of Yin are still in use today. The Yin dynasty was conquered by the Zhou Dynasty in 1046 BC. Both Korean and Chinese legends state that a disgruntled Yin prince named 箕子 Qizi (Korean: Kija), who refused to cede power to the Zhou, left China with his garrison and fled to 朝鲜 (chaoxian; Go-Joseon) near modern day Pyongyang to what would later become the Korean state.
2) 殷 (pinyin: Yin；). A very rare Chinese surname dating to the fall of the Yin (Shang) Dynasty in 1046 BC. After the Yin's collapse, the surviving Yin ruling family collectively changed their surname from their royal 子 (pinyin: zi; Wade-Giles: tzu) to the name of their fallen dynasty, Yin 殷. The family remained aristocratic and often provided needed administrative services to the succeeding Zhou Dynasty. (Source: Records of the Grand Historian Sima Qian. 史记 Shiji). This is the only historic origin for this surname. The surname is today found mostly in Northern China, although there have been a few historic migrations south to the Yangtze River near the Wu region of China.
Besides Yin, the surname 殷 is also Romanized as In, Eun, Oon.
3) 殷 (pinyin: yin, yan). Adj. A blackish red.
4) 阴, 陰 (pinyin: yin1). Feminine or negative. See yin yang. Different character (homophone) from entries 1-3.