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Picking up a Chinese name

Hi @YuQinCai, @Constance_Fang @Fiona and the ChinesePod team, my question is this:

Hi All,

Since I am a westerner and I study Chinese, I am currently undergoing the hard task of choosing a Chinese name for myself. The last thing I want to do is to simply translate my Italian name in Chinese… instead, I want to pick up a name that really sounds Chinese. My passion for Chinese culture led me to buy an old book that aims at leading the reader to choose an auspicious Chinese name based on zodiac, yin/yang, binomials etc. After some study and attempts, I came up to what sounds to me like a fair name, but I would really like to hear from any Chinese native speaker or experts among you if, to your ears, this sounds like a good name for a male.

So, here we go: the surname is 波 (Bo1), given name 傲蟀 (Ao2 Shuai4) - I really liked the idea of having both a character that reminds of the cricket, with its fighting spirit and good fortune meaning, and a character that conveys the meaning of being proud.

Does this sound like a nice/good/fair name to you? Any suggestions?

I really appreciate any feedback you may give me.

Thank you!


That sounds like an interesting book. It is admirable that you have put so much effort into finding a name that you not only like but that also carries significant meaning.

When it comes to the name, we would probably advise against using 蟀, especially for a man. This is because people sometimes make jokes using 蟀, as it has the exact same pronunciation as 帅 meaning handsome. This word is sometimes used to make someone think you’re telling them they are handsome, when in fact you are just kidding. Since you chose 蟀 to represent a fighting spirit, you could potentially use 志 zhì instead. This comes from 斗志 dòuzhì meaning “a will to fight”. Parents will chose this name for their child when they want them to grow up to be determined and strong-willed.

波 is also not really used as a surname (it’s super rare), so unfortunately people will be able to tell that your name is not a “natural” Chinese name. Chinese family names are more “fixed” than English ones, meaning that there are a limited number of surnames and many families share the exact same last names. We would love to help you come up with some similar alternatives to 波, but we need something to base the name off.

Let us know what you think of 志!

Warm regards,


Thank you, Aurelia.

For what concernsn the surname, I would like to choose one that vaguely may recall the sounds of my Italian surname, which is Ballo (thought of something like 白, 柏, or something like that…).

I personalli like your suggestion of 志 as a possible character for given name.

I’ll let you know this. A very kind friend I came across in another forum helped me out with the following suggestion: surname , first name 鹭振.

I personally like so much this name for the following reasons I would like to share with you guys: (i) the surname and the first character of the name sound like “bailu”, which closely resembles the sound of my surname Ballo and also identifies the bird egret;
(ii) the third character, 振, has been chosen from an ode of the Book of Odes referring to egrets with a very nice meaning, and suggests the flight of a flock of egrets (an image that conveys the idea of rising, soaring and having sucsess);
(iii) the three characters seem to work well together according to my book in terms of yin/yang and five elements.

(By the way, If you are interested, of course I can give you the title and author of this book :slight_smile: )

This name has received the appreciation by a Chinese firend of mine, but I would really like to also have your impressions/suggestions on how it sounds to your hear or if you have some further ideas!

Thank you indeed.


Really like the suggestion of 白,it’s nice that it sounds like Ballo and also is very Chinese.

For 鹭振, in my personal opinion the combination is little odd because 鹭 is quite feminine and 振 is quite masculine. However, 振 is a great character to use as it really helps convey the meaning you are trying to get across. Perhaps you could go with a two character name, 白振?

Alternatively, if you still want three characters total another word you could use with 振 for a first name would be 武 ,which is masculine and conveys a fighting spirit. On the other hand, 武 is slightly militaristic so only choose it if you are comfortable with that. Unfortunately, 志 and 振 don’t really go together that well, otherwise that would have been a nice option.

Would be great to know the details of the book!


Hi Aurelia,

sorry for the late reply, but apparently I had some problems with my account. Anyway, first of all the book title is “Choosing auspicious Chinese names”, by Evelyn Lip. Quite an old book, I only managed to buy a used copy online (for a cheap price, which is good :slight_smile:). Very interesting book that guides you through the process without going in too much details that would daunt a reader who’s not familiar with Chinese zodiac, yin/yang traditions and so on…

Having said that, thank you indeed for your suggestions, I really appreciate them and sound very good too! So, you say 鹭振 sounds somewhat odd to your ear. I must say first of all that I am of course open to change that name if needs be. But I would like to know how odd it sounds: is it something that would really puzzle a Chinese whenever I introduce myself and/or let them sniggering at it? Or perhaps you think it is just that it sounds or reads rather unusual, but is still fine? Or maybe it sounds somewhat awkward in a way? (By the way, I think I read about some general during the revolution that went by the given name of Luzhen, although it was written with different characters :blush:).

Given the “refinement” of 鹭振 (its derivation from the Odes…), if I need to change it, I would like to go for a name that can have a similar inspiration… but, alas, I would need your help, since both my Chinese and my knowledge of Chinese poetry is by far inadequate to browse the texts in search for a fine name…

Thank you for your precious help and patience!


Hi Emanuele,

Sorry for the late response. When Chinese people pick a name, they not only check whether it sounds good but also whether the character is often used as a name. So, 鹭振, it does sound a great and Chinese name. But just like what Aurelia mentioned above, 鹭 is quite feminine. But (again), it is your name, just pick the one you like.


Thank you Betty, much appreciated. Therefore, even if It reads a little unusual I’ll go for it, unless someone among you folks thinks it would really not fit for a male or disorient others… thank you!!!

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Well, sometimes even native speakers’ names sound weird. So 择你所爱,爱你所择 [Zé nǐ suǒ ài, ài nǐ suǒ zé.] Pick what you like and like what you pick.

Wow, thank you for this piece of wisdom, I really like it! I’ll keep the name, then! Thank you and the whole staff for the kind support om this!

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Yes indeed, some Chinese names can be interestingly strange. Like 董杉菜 in Meteor Garden, she often takes pride in the fact that people call her 杂草杉菜 (indestructible weed Shan Cai) since her name reminds people of women weed.