Chinese Given Names

What are Chinese given names?

The Chinese given name (first name) composed of one or two words in most cases is located behind the surname. The given name in China is usually with some meanings to express good wishes. It’s mostly given by the parents or seniors of a family. Some of the given name may show the person’s birth location, time or weather condition, such as 晨(with the meaning of Morning ) and 雪 (means Snow). Some was named with the hope to be blessed with some kind of virtue, such as 忠 (loyal), 信 (trustworthy), 礼 (polite) etc. Also, some may with the hope of health (健), longevity (寿) or happiness (福).

For male and female, the given name has different characters. For male, the words like ‘力’, ‘伟’, ‘勇’, ‘猛’ are usually used to show force, greatness, intrepidity and valor in given name. In opposite, words with the meaning of beauty, elegant, aroma, flower, jade etc. are mostly selected for female. 

One Word or Two-Word Given Names?

According to statistics, before the 2000s, the given name for the Chinese people is mostly composed of one word. However, after that period, more people use two words for their given names. The change is mainly caused by the large population of China and too many duplicated names. One word given name is easy to call but also easy to be duplicate with others. Two-word one is mostly used now in China and also is a must in some places for new-born babies. Following are the percentage of given names with one word for female and male in different periods of China. From the statistic, you could clearly see the change:
Year Male Female
1960s 55% 35%
1970s 46% 43%
1980s 46% 42%
1990s 52% 44%
2000s 19% 17%
2011 17% 13%
2012 13% 10%
2013 10% 8%

Top 20 Mostly Used Given Names in China

Following are top 20 given names with the most numbers now in China. You can also get their meanings and numbers from the table below.
Top 20 Mostly Used Given Names in China
Rank Word Meaning Number Rank Word Meaning Numbers
1 Brave 41000153 11 Red 21763316
2 Gorgeous 35266889 12 Beautiful 21685739
3 Jade 34243152 13 Small 21221614
4 Elegant 32120854 14 Plum 20540086
5 Literate 29623154 15 Cloud 19931270
6 Bright 28531253 16 Aromatous 19813046
7 Orchid 25703851 17 Peaceful 19778348
8 Gold 22224840 18 Sea 19563097
9 Country 22112399 19 Precious 19420570
10 Spring 22103501 20 prosperous 19352187

List of Most Common Given Names for Male and Female (Boy and Girl)

Chinese given names in different periods show different traits. Some of them have characteristics of the times. For example, during the 1960s and 1970s, Chinese people adored devotion too much. Therefore, most of the people have the names like建国 (Building the State), 建军 (building army) etc. During the 1980s to 1990s, personal striving was paid great attention during the Chinese people’s life. So, the given names for people born during this period are mostly direct, plain and easy to be duplicated. After the 2000s, the given names are more liberal and diversified.
List of Common Given Names from 1960s to Present for Male, Boy
Rank 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s After 2010
1 子轩
2 浩宇
3 浩然
4 建国 博文
5 建华 俊杰 宇轩
6 建军 子涵
7 建军 雨泽
8 建平 皓轩
9 浩轩
10 梓轩
List of Common Given Names from 1960s to Present for Female, Girl
Rank 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s After 2010
1 秀英 子涵
2 桂英 欣怡
3 婷婷 梓涵
4 玉兰 婷婷 晨曦
5 秀兰 紫涵
6 红梅 诗涵
7 玉梅 梦琪
8 嘉怡
9 子萱
10 雨欣 雨涵

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