Choosing A Suitable Chinese Name For Your Child

In Chinese culture, names are very important. A good name can bring good luck and respect to the person. A bad name will bring bad luck and difficult life. A Chinese name comprises two to four characters. Each of the characters has a meaning and an element. The Chinese characters combine together to make up the person’s name and usually it is chosen carefully in accordance to what is needed after studying the child’s Paht Chee chart.

The Chinese use two characters in the name and it is added to the surname which comes first. Many families have a generation name that is then used as the first of the two characters. This character is used by all the cousins of the same generation, and then the child’s given name is the last character. If there is no generation name, then two characters will be chosen as the name. Whether you get to choose one or two names for the child thus depends on whether the parents wish to stick with a generation name. Prominent and wealthy families usually do use the generation name to keep track of the generations, and also these generation names have good meaning as well, but there are no hard and fast rules about this.

Parents have great responsibility when they choose a name for their children. The name must be harmonious and the characters must combine in a way to bring good luck and prosperity to their children.

Traditionally, they use the services of an astrologer to suggest a good name for their children. Firstly, the astrologer will calculate the Paht Chee chart of the child based on the date and time of birth, and using the information in the Paht Chee and the surname of the father, the astrologer will find a good name for the child.

The Paht Chee chart comprises 8 characters drawn as 4 pillars. Each character is associated with one of the 5 elements – Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal. The chart thus comprises a basket of elements and studying this combination of elements, it is easy to determine whether the child has a strong or weak “self-element”. From this, one can then determine if there are any missing elements, and also which elements are good or bad for the child.

The astrologer usually chooses a name that will bring harmonious and auspicious balance to the chart. The chart is considered auspicious when all 5 elements are present. A strong but not too strong self-element is also usually preferred. Many charts usually have at least one element completely missing or lacking. The astrologer determines the “missing” element to offer then his recommendation for a name that will bring balance of elements to the destiny chart.

For example, if the child’s Paht Chee chart shows that the Fire element is missing, the astrologer will find a name associated with the Fire element. This can mean the name will include characters that mean fire, the sunshine, lights, candles and so forth! If WATER is needed, then the name should contain characters that refer to rivers, lakes, the sea and so forth.

Usually however, the astrologer will use the five element enunciation字音五行 from the Kang Xi dictionary. The astrologer then chooses auspicious traditional Chinese characters based on this dictionary.


The astrologer must also consider the combination of elements of the entire name. This is known as “Three Luck 5 Element combination” 三才五行配合. This is an analysis of the 5 elements combination of the Surname + Middle Name + Last Name. There are total of 112 combinations. Each combination gives a different interpretation. This will let you know whether the element of the chosen name is matched with the element of the surname in the overall combination.

After that, the astrologer will check the conformity of the four-grid pattern summation based on the number of strokes of the full name. The four-grid pattern consists of a Mankind Grid 人格 , an Outer Grid 外格, an Earth Grid 地格 and a Total Grid 总格. Each of the grids must be in an auspicious number of stokes based on the 81 lucky/unlucky tabulation under table 81 数理吉凶表. The method calculates the number of strokes on each Chinese character based on the combination of surname + middle name, middle name + last name, surname + last name and grand total of strokes of the full name.


It is important to choose a good name from the start. A newborn child has not entered into his/her ten year luck pillars yet, and the chosen name will compensate or balance his/her chart. The name will thus ensure a strong foundation for the child’s future, and will also improve his/her health during the early years.

Lastly, the astrologer will check whether the selected Chinese characters conflict with the child’s Paht Chee chart based on the child’s astrological animal sign. For example, if the child is born in the Dragon hour, day, month or year, it should not have any character that contains Dog in Chinese character, as the Dragon clashes with the Dog.

After considering all these details, the astrologer will suggest several names, and the parents will choose one which they think is appropriate.


Choosing a Chinese name for a child is not a simple matter. There are many factors to consider before you can decide the right name for the child. In addition to the complexity of choosing a name, one must also consider the sound of the name and meanings of the Chinese characters. Phonetics and sounds are important to the Chinese, and words often carry double, triple or even multiple meanings.

There are other schools of thought which use different methods, such as the adding one stroke method, using your allies or secret friend of your animal sign method or, based on the characteristic of the animal sign of the year, which pre-selected Chinese character to choose. Take note that a good name must always be chosen based on the child’s Paht Chee chart.

It is important to choose a good name from the start. A newborn child has not entered into his/her ten year luck pillars yet, and the chosen name will compensate or balance his/her chart. The name will thus ensure a strong foundation for the child’s future, and will also improve his/her health during the early years.

It is also important not to be ‘too ambitious” when naming one’s child. For instance, you cannot and should never call your child high born names that indicate royalty or a high official. If the child does not have the “luck” to carry such a high name, he/she will get sick and might even not survive the early years. It is for this reason that in the old days, families often gave their babies and toddlers unassuming, very humble “baby names” to fool the spirits.