Do Chinese people’s names really have a meaning?

The answer is yes.

Chinese, unlike many other language, doesn’t have some names so you can choose. When parents in China named the babies, they will consider the meaning of the name.

For example, one of my roommates(a girl) called 胜男. The character ‘胜’ means ‘win’ or ‘exceed’. The character ‘男’ means ‘male’. Her name literally means ‘better than male’. It shows the wish of her parents. And I have to say, she perfectly fits her name.

As each Chinese character has dfifferent meaning, some parents will put together some character with good meaning to named their kids.

One of my friends, ‘慧莉’, would be a good example. Her name is combined of two character, ‘慧’ and ‘莉’. The character ‘慧’ means ‘intelligent’ or ‘wisdom’. And the character ‘莉’ is refers to a kind of flower called ‘jasmine’, usually used by parents who want their girls become beautiful.

And many well-educated parents will reference some ancient Chinese books such as The Analects of Confucius, Menzi, Daodejing, The Book of Songs, Lisao, to named thier babies.

My name, for instance, is comes from The Analects of Confucius. My Chinese name is ‘思齐’, comes from the famous saying ‘见贤思齐焉,见不贤而内自省也’. This saying means: when you meet some one outstanding, you should think of equaling them; when you meet someone of a contrary character, you should examine yourself not to be like him. So that’s what my parents expect of me.

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