Cao Xiu is a character in the 14th-century Chinese classic novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms by the late Luo Guanzhong, and its multiple adaptations. He is the general of Wei and nephew of Cao Cao.
Cao Xiu's father, Cao Cao, before he turned twenty, when the Yellow Turban Rebellion has broke out. He fled with his mother south over the Yellow River. When Cao Cao joined the coalition against Dong Zhuo and set up his army, Cao Xiu entered his service. Cao Cao was very fond of supporting this distant family branch and treated Cao Xiu as his own son. Cao Xiu later participated in many campaigns against the Shu Han, especially at the Battle of Wulan. He was a good counselor and was later appointed commander of the Imperial Guard. After Cao Cao's death, Cao Xiu enjoyed a good relationship with the heir Cao Pi. He made Cao Xiu a general guarding the south and sent him to the front to fight Sun Quan's armies.
Cao Pi personally led an offensive against Sun Quan. Cao Xiu was appointed General, who conquered the East. He overseen more than twenty armies from various regions and defeated Sun Quan's forces under Lu Fan at Dongpu. After Cao Pi's death, Cao Xiu served the second Wei Emperor Cao Rui. He was appointed Supreme Commander of the Defensive Forces and retained his command of the defense of the Yang Province. However, Cao Rui led another offensive against Sun Quan.
While Cao Xiu led his force to Xunyang. He followed the advice of seemingly defected Wu officer Zhou Fang and led his army deep into impassable lands where he was attacked and beaten at the Battle of Shiting. In a memorandum, Cao Xiu confessed his misjudgment, but Cao Rui forgave him.
Cao Xiu is someone eager to prove his worth in the battlefield. While his enthusiasm makes him highly liked by Cao Cao, Cao Pi, and his other relatives, the former referring to Cao Xiu by his given name in the English script. Sima Yi and Man Chong, however, believe that Cao Xiu was known is too honest and trusting which can lead to foolhardy decisions.
- He is a playable character in the Dynasty Warriors series.