Chinese style name
A Chinese style name, sometimes also known as a courtesy name (), is a given name to be used later in life. After 20 years of age, the is assigned in place of one's given name as a symbol of adulthood and respect. Primarily used for male names, one could be given a by the parents, or by their first personal teacher on the first day of family school, or one may adopt a self-chosen . The tradition of using style names has been fading since the May Fourth Movement
May Fourth Movement
The May Fourth Movement was an anti-imperialist, cultural, and political movement growing out of student demonstrations in Beijing on May 4, 1919, protesting the Chinese government's weak response to the Treaty of Versailles, especially the Shandong Problem...

 in 1919. There are two common forms of style name, the and the hào.

(adult name)

The , sometimes called the biǎozì or "courtesy name", is a name traditionally given to Chinese males at the age of 20, marking their coming of age. It was sometimes given to females upon marriage. As noted above, the practice is no longer common in modern Chinese society. According to the Book of Rites , after a man reaches adulthood, it is disrespectful for others of the same generation to address him by his given name, or míng. Thus, the given name was reserved for oneself and one's elders, while the would be used by adults of the same generation to refer to one another on formal occasions or in writing; hence the term 'courtesy name'.

The is mostly disyllabic (comprises two characters
Chinese character
Chinese characters are logograms used in the writing of Chinese and Japanese , less frequently Korean , formerly Vietnamese , or other languages...

) and is usually based on the meaning of the míng or given name
Chinese given name
Chinese given names are generally made up of one or two characters, and are written after the family name, therefore "John-Paul Smith" as a Chinese name would be read "Smith John-Paul". Chinese names can consist of any character and contain almost any meaning...

. Yan Zhitui
Yan Zhitui
Yan Zhitui was a Chinese scholar, calligrapher, painter, musician, and government official who served four different Chinese states during the late Southern and Northern Dynasties: the Liang Dynasty in southern China, the Northern Qi and Northern Zhou Dynasties of northern China, and their...

 (顏之推) of the Northern Qi Dynasty believed that while the purpose of the míng was to distinguish one person from another, the should express the bearer's moral integrity.

The relation which often exists between a person's and his míng can be seen in the case of Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

 , whose was Rùnzhī . These two characters share the same radical
Radical (Chinese character)
A Chinese radical is a component of a Chinese character. The term may variously refer to the original semantic element of a character, or to any semantic element, or, loosely, to any element whatever its origin or purpose...

 - 氵, which signifies water. Both characters can mean "to benefit" or "to nourish".

Another way to form a is to use the homophonic character - a respectful title for a male - as the first character of the disyllabic . Thus, for example, Gongsun Qiao's was: Zǐchǎn , and Du Fu
Du Fu
Du Fu was a prominent Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty.Along with Li Bai , he is frequently called the greatest of the Chinese poets. His greatest ambition was to serve his country as a successful civil servant, but he proved unable to make the necessary accommodations...

's: Zǐméi (子美).

It is also common to construct a by using as the first character one which expresses the bearer's birth order among male siblings in his family. Thus Confucius
Confucius , literally "Master Kong", was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher of the Spring and Autumn Period....

, whose actual name was Kǒng Qiū (孔丘), was given the Zhòngní (仲尼), where the first character zhòng indicates that he was the second son in his family. The characters commonly used are bó (伯) for the first, zhòng (仲) for the second, shū (叔) for the third, and jì (季) typically for the youngest, if the family consists of more than three sons.

The use of began during the Shang Dynasty
Shang Dynasty
The Shang Dynasty or Yin Dynasty was, according to traditional sources, the second Chinese dynasty, after the Xia. They ruled in the northeastern regions of the area known as "China proper" in the Yellow River valley...

 and slowly developed into a system, which became most widespread during the succeeding Zhou Dynasty
Zhou Dynasty
The Zhou Dynasty was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang Dynasty and preceded the Qin Dynasty. Although the Zhou Dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history, the actual political and military control of China by the Ji family lasted only until 771 BC, a period known as...

 . During this period, women were also given . The given to a woman was generally composed of a character indicating her birth order among females siblings and her surname. For example, Mèng Jiāng (孟姜) was the eldest daughter in the Jiāng family.

Prior to the 20th century, sinicized Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

ns, Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

ese, and Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese were also referred to by their .

The of some famous people:
Family name Given name
Laozi was a mystic philosopher of ancient China, best known as the author of the Tao Te Ching . His association with the Tao Te Ching has led him to be traditionally considered the founder of Taoism...

Lǐ (李) Ěr (耳) Bó Yáng (伯陽)
Confucius , literally "Master Kong", was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher of the Spring and Autumn Period....

Kong (孔) Qiu (丘) Zhòngní (仲尼)
Cao Cao
Cao Cao
Cao Cao was a warlord and the penultimate chancellor of the Eastern Han Dynasty who rose to great power during the dynasty's final years. As one of the central figures of the Three Kingdoms period, he laid the foundations for what was to become the state of Cao Wei and was posthumously titled...

Cao (曹) Cao (操) Mengde (孟德)
Liu Bei
Liu Bei
Liu Bei , also known as Liu Xuande, was a warlord, military general and later the founding emperor of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms era of Chinese history...

Liu (劉) Bei (備) Xuande (玄德)
Sima Yi
Sima Yi
Sima Yi was a general and politician of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms era of Chinese history. He is perhaps best known for defending Wei from Zhuge Liang's Northern Expeditions...

Sima (司馬) Yi (懿) Zhòngdá (仲達)
Zhuge Liang
Zhuge Liang
Zhuge Liang was a chancellor of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history. He is often recognised as the greatest and most accomplished strategist of his era....

Zhuge (諸葛) Liang (亮) Kongming (孔明)
Li Bai
Li Bai
Li Bai , also known in the West by various other transliterations, especially Li Po, was a major Chinese poet of the Tang dynasty poetry period. He has been regarded as one of the greatest poets in China's Tang period, which is often called China's "golden age" of poetry. Around a thousand existing...

Li (李) Bai (白) Taibai (太白)
Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese doctor, revolutionary and political leader. As the foremost pioneer of Nationalist China, Sun is frequently referred to as the "Father of the Nation" , a view agreed upon by both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China...

Sun (孫) Deming (德明) Zaizhi (載之)
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

Mao (毛) Zedong (澤東) Runzhi (潤之)
Yue Fei
Yue Fei
Yue Fei , style name Pengju, was a military general of the Southern Song Dynasty. His ancestral home was in Xiaoti, Yonghe Village, Tangyin, Xiangzhou, Henan...

Yue (岳) Fei (飛) Pengju (鵬舉)
Bai Chongxi
Bai Chongxi
Bai Chongxi , , also spelled Pai Chung-hsi, was a Chinese general in the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China and a prominent Chinese Nationalist Muslim leader. He was of Hui ethnicity and of the Muslim faith...

Bai (白) Chongxi (崇禧) Jiansheng (健生)
Ma Fuxiang
Ma Fuxiang
Ma Fuxiang . Ma, a Dongxiang muslim leader, had a military and political career which spanned the Qing dynasty through the early Republic of China and illustrated the power of family, the role of religious affiliations, and the interaction of Inner Asian China and the national government of...

Ma (馬) Fuxiang (福祥) Yunting (雲亭)
Ma Hongkui
Ma Hongkui
Ma Hongkui , was a prominent warlord in China during the Republic of China era, ruling the northwestern province of Ningxia. His rank was Lieutenant-general. His courtesy name was Shao-yun .- Life :...

Ma (馬) Hongkui (鴻逵) Shao-yun (少雲)
Yusuf Ma Dexin
Yusuf Ma Dexin
Yusuf Ma Dexin was a Hui Chinese scholar of Islam from Yunnan, known for his fluency and proficiency in both Arabic and Persian, and for his knowledge of Islam.- Hajj :...

Ma (馬) Dexin (德新) Fuchu (復初)
Muhammad Ma Jian
Muhammad Ma Jian
Muhammad Ma Jian was a Chinese Islamic scholar and translator.Born in Shadian village, Gejiu, Yunnan, Ma Jian went to Shanghai to pursue his studies in 1928. In 1931, he left China for Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt as a member of the first group of government-sponsored Chinese students to...

Ma (馬) Jian (堅) Zishi (子實)

Hào (pseudonym)

Hào is an alternative courtesy name, usually referred to as the pseudonym. It was most commonly three or four characters long, and may have originally become popular due to people having the same . A hào was usually self-selected and it was possible to have more than one. It had no connection with the bearer's míng or ; rather it was often a very personal, sometimes whimsical, choice perhaps embodying an allusion or containing a rare character, as might befit an educated literatus. Another possibility was to use the name of one's residence as one's hào; thus Su Shi
Su Shi
Su Shi , was a writer, poet, artist, calligrapher, pharmacologist, gastronome, and statesman of the Song Dynasty, and one of the major poets of the Song era. His courtesy name was Zizhan and his pseudonym was Dongpo Jushi , and he is often referred to as Su Dongpo...

's hào Dongpo Jushi (i.e., "Resident of Dongpo" ("Eastern slope"), a residence he built while an exile in Hainan
Hainan is the smallest province of the People's Republic of China . Although the province comprises some two hundred islands scattered among three archipelagos off the southern coast, of its land mass is Hainan Island , from which the province takes its name...

). An author's hào was also often used in the title of his collected works (also called Bi Ming literally pen name).

See also: Art-name () in Japan
An art-name is a pseudonym, or penname, used by an East Asian artist, which they sometimes change. The word and the idea to use a pseudonym originated from China, then became popular in other East Asian countries ....

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