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Chinese Man Names

Each native Chinese name has a particular meaning which usually express that a father, grandfather, or himself hopes, wishes the name owner to be or to do. That is naming culture in China.

Normally, When a baby is going to be born, his/her father or grandfather is engaged to search a good sentence or phrase in dictionaries, classics, poetry, etc which represents his hopes or wishes, then extracts one or two words from it to compose the baby's name.

But, our latest statistics shows that the words used most frequently in boy's names still follow a basic rule. That is that words for boy's names are those represent 'strong, powerful, gleaming brightness, shiny quality, brilliance, prosperous, flourishing, dragon, outstanding person, hero, mountain, gentle, mild, refined, etc'.

The top 20 words for man's names are listed as follow. You could compare them to know briefly the meaning of Chinese names. Note that the top words we are talking about are the last characters of given names because they determine mainly the meaning of the names.

1. The Most Common Characters Used For Chinese Man's Names

2. Sun Yat-sen's Name

Sun Yat-sen has several Chinese names in his life.

Formal name given by his teacher. When he was 10 years old and went to a private school, the teacher named him Sun Wen, in Chinese symbol 孙文. The first Chinese character is his family name; and the second one is Wen, means gentle, mild, or refined; literary composition; writing, is one of the most common characters used for Chinese man's names. This Chinese name is his formal name, was used to the signature of documents and orders.

Another name extracted from an inscription. When he was 17, and studied at the Anglican Diocesan Home and Orphanage (now the Diocesan Boys' School) in Hong Kong, he gave himself a courtesy name Ri Xin, in Chinese symbols 日新); they are extracted from an ancient inscription on a bath of an outstanding Emperor. The inscription is gou ri xin ri ri xin you ri xin, in Chinese 日新, 日日新, 又日新; it means originally a person should take a bath everyday to remove the dust and dirt of body. If he takes a bath at the first day, he has to do it at the next day, and can not be discontinued; and the extended meaning a person should learn more day after day, can not be discontinued.

3. A common person's name

A name for an ordinary young man I know is: Zhang Xudong, in Chinese 张旭东; the first character of which is his family name; and the last two, his given name, are extracted from the first and third word of a Chinese phrase xu ri dong sheng, in Chinese , means the sun rising in the east - display of youthful vigour and vitality; be in the ascendant. His mother told me that at the moment when the boy was born, the sun was rising, then grandpa gave this name to the boy.

4. Names Consisted of Numbers

In China, it is not common to use numbers as a name, and rarer to name all family members with numbers. Knowing Names for the family members of Zhu Yuanzhan, the first Emperor of Ming Dynasty (A.D. 1368 - 1644), I am sure, is a unique opportunity to know more about Chinese names.

His fifth-generation grandpa was named Zhu Zhongba, in Chinese 朱仲八, the first Chinese character of which is his family name Zhu; the second one Zhong means second, and Ba is eight. (Details on numbers in Chinese).

He had three sons whose names were respectively Zhu Liuer, in Chinese 朱六二, meaning 'six two'; Zhu Shier, in Chinese 朱十二, meaning 'twelve'. Zhu Bailiu, in Chinese 朱百六, meaning 'hundred and six'.

And, Zhu Bailiu, also Zhu Hundred Six, had two boys. They were named as Zhu Siwu, in Chinese 朱四五, meaning 'four five'; and Zhu Sijiu, in Chinese 朱四九, meaning 'four nine'.

Zhu Sijiu, or Zhu Four Nine, was the grand-grandpa of the Emperor and got 4 boys:

Zhu Chuyi or Zhu First Day was the grandpa of the Emperor. He had two sons:

The Five Four was the Chinese name of the father of the Emperor. The Emperor had four brothers.

After Zhu Chongba, or Zhu Second Eight, gained fame and fortune, he changed his name as Zhu Yuanzhang, in Chinese 朱元璋.

5. Conclusion

  1. A Chinese given name usually is taken from a sentence in the classics, a phrase, lines of poetry, etc and carries its meaning.

  2. Chinese characters meaning 'strong, powerful, gleaming brightness, shiny quality, brilliance, prosperous, flourishing, dragon, outstanding person, hero, mountain, gentle, mild, refined, etc' are commonly used for Chinese man's names.