Courtesy Name
Get Courtesy Name essential facts below. View Videos or join the Courtesy Name discussion. Add Courtesy Name to your topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Courtesy Name
Courtesy name (Zi)
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese(?) ?
Hanyu Pinyin(bi?o) zì
Vietnamese name
Korean name
Revised Romanizationja
Japanese name
Revised Hepburnazana

A courtesy name (Chinese: ?; pinyin: ; lit.: 'character'), also known as a style name,[1] is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name.[2] This practice is a tradition in the Sinosphere, including China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.[3]

The courtesy name would replace a man's given name as he entered adulthood.[4] It could be given either by the parents or by a private teacher on the first day of school. Women might adopt a zi in place of their given name upon marriage.[4] One also may adopt a self-chosen courtesy name.

A courtesy name is not to be confused with an art name (hào, Chinese: ?, Korean: ?), another frequently mentioned term for an alternative name in Asian culture-based context. An art name is usually associated with art and is more of a pen name or a pseudonym that is more spontaneous, compared to a courtesy name.


The , sometimes called the bi?ozì () or "courtesy name", is a name traditionally given to Chinese men at the age of 20, marking their coming of age. It was sometimes given to women upon marriage. 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, whereas 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, consisting of two Chinese characters, and is often based on the meaning of the míng or given name. For example, Chiang Kai-shek's (, romanized as Kai-shek) and ming (, romanized as Chung-cheng) are both from the hexagram of I Ching.

Yan Zhitui of the Northern Qi dynasty asserted that whereas the purpose of the míng was to distinguish one person from another, the should express the bearer's moral integrity.

Another way to form a is to use the homophonic character z? (?) - a respectful title for a man - as the first character of the disyllabic . Thus, for example, Gongsun Qiao's was Z?ch?n (), and Du Fu's: Z?m?i ().

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 name was K?ng Qi? (), was given the Zhòngní (), where the first character zhòng indicates that he was the second son born into his family. The characters commonly used are bó (?) for the first, zhòng (?) for the second, sh? (?) for the third, and jì (?) typically for the youngest, if the family consists of more than three sons. General Sun Jian's four sons, for instance, were Sun Ce (, Bófú), Sun Quan (, Zhòngmóu), Sun Yi (, Sh?bì) and Sun Kuang (, Jìzu?).

The use of began 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 female siblings and her surname. For example, Mèng Ji?ng () was the eldest daughter in the Ji?ng family.

Prior to the twentieth century, sinicized Koreans, Vietnamese, and Japanese were also referred to by their . The practice was also adopted by some Mongols and Manchus after the Qing conquest of China.


Chinese Family name Given name Courtesy name
L?oz? L? ? ?r ? Bóyáng
K?ngz? (Confucius) K?ng ? Qi? ? Zhòngní
S?nz? (Sun Tzu) S?n ? W? ? Chángq?ng
Cáo C?o Cáo ? C?o ? Mèngdé
Gu?n Y? Gu?n ? Y? ? Yúncháng
Liú Bèi Liú ? Bèi ? Xuándé
Zh?gé Liàng Zh?gé Liàng ? K?ngmíng
Zhào Yún Zhào ? Yún ? Z?lóng
L? Bái L? ? Bái ? Tàibái
S? D?ngp? S? ? Shì ? Z?zh?n
Yuè F?i Yuè ? F?i ? Péngj?
Yuán Chónghuàn Yuán ? Chónghuàn Yuánsù
Liú J? Liú ? J? ? Bów?n
Táng Yín Táng ? Yín ? Bóh?
Máo Zéd?ng Máo ? Zéd?ng Rùnzh?
Chiang Kai-shek Ji?ng ? Zh?ngzhèng Jièshí

See also

  • Cognomen, the third name of a citizen of ancient Rome


  1. ^ Tianjun Liu, Xiao Mei Qiang (2013). Chinese Medical Qigong. p. 590. ISBN 978-1848190962. Mencius (371--289 BCE), born in Zou county (Shandong province), first name Ke, style name Zi Yu, was a famous philosopher, educator, politician, and expert on the Qigong life nurturing of Confucius in the Zhanguo Period.
  2. ^ Origins of Chinese Names. 2007. p. 142. ISBN 978-9812294623. In ancient times, besides having a surname and a given name, one would have a courtesy name 'Zì' as well. The courtesy name was the proper form of address for an adult. On reaching 20 years of age, young men would 'put on the hat' as ...
  3. ^ Names of Persons and Titles of Rulers
  4. ^ a b "Q? l? shàng" [Summary of the Rules of Propriety Part 1]. L?jì [Book of Rites]. Line 44. A son at twenty is capped, and receives his appellation....When a daughter is promised in marriage, she assumes the hair-pin, and receives her appellation.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes