How to Choose a Chinese Baby Name for a Boy

Mother's gentle kiss to her toddler
Wild Horse Photography/Getty Images

All parents have experienced the excitement and anxiety of naming their newborn child. In every culture throughout the world, there is a general belief that names have an influence on the child’s life, either for better or for worse.

Most parents choose names based on the following principles: meaning, special significance, family connection, and/or sound. 

Chinese parents also consider these things when naming their baby boy or girl. But on top of that, Chinese parents have to consider the Chinese characters that make up the name. 

Stroke Count 

Most Chinese names are made up of three characters. The first character is the family name and the last two characters are the given name. There are exceptions to this general rule – some family names are made up of two characters, and sometimes the given name is just one character.

Chinese characters can be classified by the number of strokes required to draw them. The character 一, for example, has one stroke, but the character 義 has thirteen strokes. Both these characters, by the way, are pronounced yi

The number of strokes determines whether a character is yin (even number of strokes) or yang (odd number of strokes). Chinese names should have a balance of yin and yang.

Elements in Chinese Names

In addition to stroke counts, each Chinese character is associated with one of the five elements: fire, earth, water, wood, and gold. The Chinese name for a baby boy or girl must have a harmonious combination of elements. 

Genealogy 

It is common for Chinese names to incorporate a genealogical marker. Meanings, siblings will often have names composed of the same first character. The second character in the given name will be distinct to the person. That way, all family members of the same generation will have similar names.

Chinese Baby Names for Boys

Chinese names for boys usually have gender qualities such as strength and glory for boys. Here are a few examples of Chinese names for boys:

Pinyin Traditional Characters Simplified Characters
Ān Róng 安榮 安荣
Ān Dū 安督 安督
Yǎ Dé 雅德 雅德
Jié Lǐ 杰禮 杰礼
Hàn Róng 翰榮 翰荣
Xiū Bó 修博 修博
Jiàn Yì 健義 健义
Zhì Míng 志明 志明
Jūn Yí 君怡 君怡
Wěi Xīn 偉新 伟新

A similar process is undertaken when choosing Chinese Baby names for girls.