A while back, when I first started learning Chinese, I chose my Chinese name to be 谦恭. I chose this because 谦恭 is a loose direct translation of the meaning of my name.

So, a few years later, I found out that 谦恭 cannot be used as a name as it is improper. I did not worry about it so much then, but now I am going to be studying abroad in China in the Fall. So I would like to know if there are any names in China that start with 谦. I am really attached to 谦恭 because I have had it as my name for so long.

My actual legal name has no phonetic similarities with 谦恭 either. Just so you know.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

  • a chinese name starts with the family name, and 谦 is not a common one. But as a given name, 谦恭 is absolutely ok. Apr 23 '18 at 5:22
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    It is okay if 谦 is the first (or the sole) character of a given name. For example: 于谦 wapbaike.baidu.com/item/%E4%BA%8E%E8%B0%A6/377 You can use 谦恭 as your given name and also give yourself a family name (pick one from 百家姓). Although a Chinese name starts with family name, people often address each other using given names, too.
    – wks
    Apr 23 '18 at 5:31

Here's an alternative point of view.

谦恭 is an okay Chinese name, albeit "uncommon."

If you check out this article on zhummzyking的博客 it talks about as a surname.

Under part two origins the article explains:





Then it talks about a fairly well known monk by the name of:


The page also mentions a second origin but I won't paste that here.

  • 谦 is not a common surname, but it is indeed a last name.

How about 恭 then?

This is where the China Biographical Database (CBDB) comes in handy.

A search for names with 恭 in them provides many names, alternative names and courtesy names.

Names like:




Multiple people have the posthumous name:


including 王珪 and 王綯.

If you go through CBDB's name list the number of 恭's is immense.

  • 恭 is a legit name.

You might see some complaints about your name, but Chinese names are diverse and varied and after all you have evidence to back you up.


"恭" is rarely used in first name for Chinese people because it sounds like 公 which is an honorific

I suggest 谦遜

It is a common sounding first name. If you treat 谦 as a family name, 遜 is also a good matching given name

: modest; unassuming; humble

: modest; humble; unassuming

陸遜 is one of the famous people in Chinese history who named 遜

  • 遜 also means sucks, as in that sucks, i.e.: that's awful. Probably not a good suggestion for a name.
    – Mou某
    Apr 23 '18 at 5:50

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