Chinese Baby Names

When considering Chinese baby names, you should consider the name origins, cultural significance, and other important considerations for selecting a meaningful and beautiful name for your baby.

Chinese culture holds strongly that a baby’s name is a vital element of the course that the child will take in life, as well as the fortunes or misfortunes that the child will encounter.  In China, a baby typically is given 3 names:

  1. An official name name – to be used on forms of government identification, work, public records and schools.
  2. Nomen – which indicates the baby’s rank and/or role in the family.
  3. The third one is a nickname or pet name. In some parts of China, parents believe that the more humble, mediocre or derogatory the baby name is, the less likely that evil spirits are to bother the child throughout his/her childhood.  Names such as Gousheng (a dog), Shitou (stone), or Shadan (stupid child) are used.


When choosing a Chinese baby name for a girl or a boy, you should consider several key elements to pick the right name to fit your child and positively influence their course in life:                                         

1. Girls’ Names

Generally speaking, a girl’s name should sound beautiful, gentle and feminine. Sometimes the name is related with elegant scenery, nice color, or her parents’ expectation. For example, the character “” , which means “tender, slender and graceful” is an ideal name; and “” meaning “clever” and “kind” is also welcomed by Chinese parents. Some modern parents are not satisfied with traditional names any longer, so they may like special ones without exact meanings but appears fashionable, such as “子晨 (read as ‘Zichen’)”,“思琪 (Siqi)” and “雨涵(Yuhan)”.

2. Boys’ Names                                                

As to boys’ names, they should sound powerful and noble. For example, “玉德” means “integrity”, and “树勤” means “being honest and industrious”. Some of the names can reflect the parents’ expectation, such as “光远” meaning “having a bright future."

3. Considerations for Choosing Names for Babies

  • Horoscope and “Five Elements”                              Some people believe that good names, which are created according to Horoscope and mutual-influencing rules of “Five Elements (namely, metal, wood, water, fire and earth)”, can bring good fortune. Therefore, new parents, if they like, could consult professionals in this field for advices.
  • Avoiding Homonyms                                            Do remember that the baby’s name must not be sounds the same with words with bad meanings. For example, Hu Luanshuo has the same pronunciation with the phrase “胡乱说”(talking nonsense), and hence it may become a joke in some people’s mind.
  • Avoiding Uncommon Characters                              It is reasonable that all parents want their baby to be unique. However, uncommon characters in his/her name may bring trouble to the baby. For example, she/he will have to register in the network of the Chinese government, and uncommon characters may result in difficulty in inputting his/her name.


Many factors should be considered when choosing a baby name in China.  These helpful considerations above will enlighten new parents about how to create a beautiful or/and meaningful name for the baby. Also, based on the advice above, you can learn a lot about why YOU were given your name and discern your parents’ reasons behind your name.

Click here for more Chinese baby names, origins, customs and traditions!
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