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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 himself. The tradition of using style names has been fading away since after the May Fourth Movement in 1919. There are two common forms of style name, the and the hào.

Contents

(adult name)

Zi
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese (表)字
Simplified Chinese (表)字
Transliterations
Mandarin
- Hanyu Pinyin (biǎo) zì
- Wade–Giles (piao) tzu
Japanese name
Kanji
Hiragana あざな
Transliterations
- Revised Hepburn azana
Korean name
Hangul
Hanja
Transliterations
- Revised
Romanization
ja
- McCune-
Reischauer
cha

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 (Traditional Chinese: 禮記; Simplified Chinese: 礼记), 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, i.e., comprises two characters, and is usually based on the meaning of the míng or given name. Yan Zhitui (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 (Traditional Chinese: 毛澤東; Simplified Chinese: 毛泽东), whose was Rùnzhī (Traditional Chinese: 潤之; Simplified Chinese: 润之). These two characters share the same radical - 氵, which signifies water. Both characters can mean 'to benefit' or 'to nourish'.

Another way to form a is to use the homophonic character (Chinese: pinyin: ) - a respectful title for a male - as the first character of the disyllabic . Thus, for example, Gongsun Qiao's was: Zǐchǎn ((Traditional Chinese: 子產; Simplified Chinese: 子产), and Du Fu'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, 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 sometime during the Shang Dynasty and slowly developed into a system, which became most widespread during the succeeding Zhou Dynasty . 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 Koreans, Vietnamese, and Japanese were also referred to by their .

The of some famous people:

Family name Given name
Laozi老子 Lǐ(李) Ěr(耳) Bó Yáng(伯陽)
Confucius孔子 Kong(孔) Qiu丘 Zhòngní(仲尼)
Cao Cao曹操 Cao(曹) Cao(操) Mengde(孟德)
Liu Bei劉備 Liu(劉) Bei(備) Xuande(玄德)
Sima Yi司馬懿 Sima(司馬) Yi(懿) Zhòngdá(仲達)
Zhuge Liang諸葛亮 Zhuge(諸葛) Liang(亮) Kongming(孔明)
Li Bai李白 Li(李) Bai(白) Taibai(太白)
Sun Yat-sen孫逸仙 Sun(孫) Deming(德明) Zaizhi(載之)
Mao Zedong毛澤東 Mao(毛) Zedong(澤東) Runzhi(潤之)
Yue Fei岳飛 Yue(岳) Fei(飛) Pengju(鵬舉)

Hào (pseudonym)

Hao
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese
Transliterations
Mandarin
- Hanyu Pinyin hào
- Wade–Giles hào
Japanese name
Kana ごう (modern usage)
がう (historical usage)
Kyūjitai
Shinjitai
Transliterations
- Romaji
Korean name
Hangul
Hanja
Transliterations
- Revised
Romanization
ho
- McCune-
Reischauer
ho

Hào (simplified Chinese: traditional Chinese: pinyin: hào; Japanese ; Korean: ho; Vietnamese: hiệu) 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's hào Dongpo Jushi (i.e., 'Resident of Dongpo' ('Eastern slope'), a residence he built while in exile). An author's hào was also often used in the title of his collected works.

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