In Mandarin Chinese, 王 (Pinyin: wáng 🔊) means “king”. Wang (or Wong) is a popular family name shared by, among others, the film director Kar-wai Wong (王家卫; Wáng Jiāwèi) and the world-famous concert pianist Yuja Wang (王羽佳; Wáng Yǔjiā).
Ponte Ryūrui describes two theories of this character’s origin. One is that 王 is a pictogram of an axe head, where the bottom stroke corresponds to the axe blade. Many historical forms of this character indeed show the bottom stroke thicker and/or having a fancier shape.
The association of the axe with the ruler comes from a ceremonial axe that was kept near the throne, and was used for performing rituals in ancient China.Another theory is more symbolic:
The three vertical lines depict three powers: Heaven, Earth and Man (天地人), which are then connected by a vertical line symbolising the ruler bracing those powers and taking control over them.Again, many historical forms of 王 show a man-like figure, 大 or 天 above a horizontal stroke (earth?).