How to Address Family Members in Mandarin Chinese

Learn the Many Terms for Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt and Uncle in Chinese

Grandson kissing grandmother

real444/Getty Images 

Family relations can reach out over several generations and through many extensions. English terms for family members only consider two factors: generation and gender. While in English, there is only one way to say "aunt," for example, there are multiple ways to say "aunt" in Chinese depending on many factors. 

Is she your aunt on your mother's or father's side? Is she the eldest sibling? The youngest? Is she an aunt by blood or an in-law? All these questions are considered when figuring out the proper way to address a family member. Therefore, a family member's title is packed with lots of information!

In Chinese culture, it is important to know how to correctly address a family member. Calling a family member by the wrong title can be considered impolite. 

This is a list of Mandarin Chinese names of extended family members, and each entry is accompanied by an audio file for pronunciation and listening practice. Note that there are other terms used to address family members within each regional language and dialect. 

Zǔ Fù

English: Paternal Grandfather, or father's father
Pinyin: zǔfù
Chinese: 祖父
Audio Pronunciation

Zǔ Mǔ

English: Paternal Grandmother, or father's mother
Pinyin: zǔmǔ
Chinese: 祖母
Audio Pronunciation

Wài Gōng

English: Maternal Grandfather, or mother's father
Pinyin: wài gōng
Chinese: 外公
Audio Pronunciation

Wài Pó

English: Maternal Grandmother, or mother's mother
Pinyin: wài pó
Chinese: 外婆
Audio Pronunciation

Bó Fù

English: Uncle, specifically father's older brother
Pinyin: bó fù
Chinese: 伯父
Audio Pronunciation

Bó Mǔ

English: Aunt, specifically father's older brother's wife
Pinyin: bó mǔ
Chinese: 伯母
Audio Pronunciation

Shū Fù

English: Uncle, specifically father's younger brother
Pinyin: shū fù
Chinese: 叔父
Audio Pronunciation

Shěn Shěn

English: Aunt, specifically father's younger brother's wife
Pinyin: shěn shěn
Traditional Chinese: 嬸嬸
Simplified Chinese: 婶婶
Audio Pronunciation

Jiù Jiu

English: Uncle, specifically mother's older or younger brother
Pinyin: jiù jiu
Chinese: 舅舅
Audio Pronunciation

Jiù Mā

English: Aunt, specifically the mother's brother's wife
Pinyin: jiù mā
Traditional Chinese: 舅媽
Simplified Chinese: 舅妈
Audio Pronunciation


English: Aunt, specifically mother's younger sister
Pinyin: āyí
Chinese: 阿姨
Audio Pronunciation

Yí Zhàng

English: Uncle, specifically the mother's sister's husband
Pinyin: yí zhàng
Chinese: 姨丈
Audio Pronunciation

Gū Mā

English: Aunt, specifically father's sister
Pinyin: gū mā
Traditional Chinese: 姑媽
Simplified Chinese: 姑妈
Audio Pronunciation

Gū Zhàng

English: Uncle, specifically father's sister's husband
Pinyin: gū zhàng
Chinese: 姑丈
Audio Pronunciation

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Su, Qiu Gui. "How to Address Family Members in Mandarin Chinese." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, Su, Qiu Gui. (2020, August 28). How to Address Family Members in Mandarin Chinese. Retrieved from Su, Qiu Gui. "How to Address Family Members in Mandarin Chinese." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 28, 2023).