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灰太狼 (A character in a TV show) is translated in English as "Grey Wolf".

What has happened to the 太, wouldn't 灰狼 be enough to mean "Grey Wolf"?

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(1) I believe you should treat that as a name. – John Siu Feb 3 '13 at 22:45
up vote 9 down vote accepted

Like others said, it is just a name and names can be arbitrary.

However, to many of the audience, there is another layer of meaning that I am hesitant to lay bare.

The pronunciation of 太狼 resembles a common Japanese name 太郎. Intentionally or not, this political metaphor helped the series to gain popularity and government support.

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I'm much less cynical about the resemblance to 太郎. Whilst it's true there's a lot of cultural venom towards Japan in China, not all jokes of this nature are as malicious as you imply. For instance, would you be this cynical about English jokes about the Scottish, or Irish? As Mingjing Zhang said, it's just a pun, with which this show is filled. – congusbongus May 15 '13 at 4:24
@CongXu On the contrary, I am not cynical about it at all, nor did I say the intention was malicious. It is merely my observation how other people (mostly parents of the audience) are receiving it. You're free to disagree or provide a different answer. – NS.X. May 15 '13 at 5:00

In ancient Chinese, 太 means 'big', 'oldest/most senior', 'extreme'... The second meaning have largely fallen out of use today, but still survives in words such as 太郎 (the oldest son, mainly used in japanese),太子(the crown prince, usually the oldest son of the king),...

Here 太狼 is an intentional pun of 太郎, making the name 灰太狼 sound like a Japanese name 'grey taro'. Actually almost all characters' names in that show are word plays like this.

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灰狼 is enough to mean "Grey Wolf."

The 太 was added for emphasis. A loose translation might be "VERY Grey Wolf."

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It is the name of the character, and names are arbitrary.

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