A lot of dialectical words are actually just taboo renditions of common words.

For instance:

旺子 [wang zi] in Sichuanese comes from taboo on saying the ominous, inauspicious word blood and probably morphed from the actual character 衁.

Obviously blood could have been used and could have been said but out of taboo a new "word" was created.

I found one in 汉语大词典:



I would imagine that 死 isn't as taboo as it used to be though.

What common MSM words now are the result of taboo?

1 Answer 1


One of the more common one in Cantonese is substitute 空 with 吉.

'空' sounded like '凶', to avoid saying 空屋 (凶屋) , people would call an available house '吉屋' instead. As in "吉屋招租"

吉 is also used as a verb for 'leave blank' . For example: "唔識嘅題目就吉咗佢" instead of "唔識嘅題目就空咗佢"




2 避漢高祖劉邦諱,“相邦”改“相國” (I only knew, in ancient time, there's an government official title 相國 . Never heard of 相邦)

6 避漢昭帝劉弗陵諱,否定詞“”改“” (不 replaced 弗. Now, no one use 弗 anymore )

20 孔子之名丘曾經是金朝的聖人諱,所以有些姓人士改为姓。( All because of 孔子's first name was 丘, now we have the 邱 family name co-exist with the 丘 family name )

21 避明太祖朱元璋諱,「元年」改為「始年」、「原年」,「元來」改為「原來」。(I didn't even know the term 元來 existed)

  • The popular use of 相國, 不 and 原來 are all results of 避讳.
    – Tang Ho
    Feb 27, 2018 at 10:50
  • Okay, my bad...
    – Mou某
    Feb 27, 2018 at 10:56

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