I suggested naming a Chinese baby girl 桂英 after her grandmother but my suggestion was rejected as the name was considered outdated. I know there is a legendary heroine named 穆桂英 and the name 桂英 is commmonly used by many Chinese ladies. The name itself sounds beautiful and bears nice meanings. Is it considered as outdated? If so, why did it lose its popularity?

By the way, if there is any statistics, I would love to know the rank of the name 桂英 by popularity among 2018 born baby girls. May I know how to find it out?

  • Haha, today popular names for baby are mostly contributed by 80's parents, deeply influenced by web novel, "fast food" literature. In these works several pattern of characters are often used in many characters' names to sound emmmmmmm beautiful, antique... It doesn't means these names are bad, but just too unimaginative and monotonous. – Toosky Hierot Jan 16 '19 at 7:21
  • Unfortunately, my name, which was took long ago, though, falls into today's popular names... frustrating. – Toosky Hierot Jan 16 '19 at 7:24
  • outdated? someone's kidding :( imo, it's an average / good name. – 水巷孑蠻 Jan 16 '19 at 7:51
  • Names in a lot of cultures follow fashions: take "Chris" in Hollywood. You want to get the right balance of individual-vs-fashionable, distinctive-vs-recognisable for any of your children. – Michaelyus Jun 20 '19 at 15:35

桂英 sounds like people living in 1k years ago…

  • Exactly! People may think of 穆桂英, over a thousand years ago. – Victor Jan 19 '19 at 18:23

Yes, it is indeed outdated.

Moreover, you may not want to name your child after a super famous character when that person's name is not quite common, for example (武)则天、(毛)泽东、(周)恩来、(朱)元璋 and so on. Especially when you two share the same surname!

However, some more common names, especially one-character names, though may have been used by famous people, could still be used after, for example, (杨)勇、(李)密、(刘)秀、(王)勃 and so on.

Also, it is not a common practice to have children and their elder relatives using same characters in first names. We do not memorize our loved ones that way.

As for the popularity of a certain name, you may not be able to easily access that data as it not the kind of information that a government would like people to get their hands on to.

But there is a way to roughly determine whether a name is popular or not. That is, once a "type" of name is used by more and more people, it gets unpopularized! Because people want their names to stand out.

For example, around 1950s or 1960s, people tended to name their children as 解放、卫星(when the first satellite was launched by China)and then 永强、永平 in the following years. In recent years, life is becoming peace and nice, people started to name their children as 紫萱、梓萱、子轩、梓轩 and so on. But they are soon considered outdated as well! Curious on what people would come up with.

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    Thanks! Is 穆桂英 considered as super famous in China? It seems that she is only from a novel. – Zuriel Jan 16 '19 at 5:16
  • @Zuriel Yes, she is indeed! There are many operas about her and almost all Chinese you would meet know her, not necessarily in detail though. – zyy Jan 16 '19 at 5:20
  • Then why there are many Chinese ladies named 桂英? – Zuriel Jan 16 '19 at 5:21
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    @Zuriel You don't want to name your children after super famous people because you don't want your Children to be make fun of. And there's no proof of many people named 桂英 in the mid 20-centry. People also don't name after famous people due to respect. No one whose family name is 孔 would name his son 丘 because there is only one 孔丘, Google who 孔丘 was – Tang Ho Jan 16 '19 at 6:38
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    The people who named their son 瓜瓜 should go to prison... – Tang Ho Jan 17 '19 at 4:19

There is some rules for naming a baby. 1.Avoid same name with Historical Figure. 2.Never to using a very strong word such as 钢。 3.The name should be speak loudly. 4.where is weak of 五行 then take that word. such as if you weak of 木 then the word should have the 木. for example 林.

So 桂英 should not be your baby's name.


No. Don't do that. This definitely sounds ancient. Modern Chinese people rarely use any of these two characters, 桂 and 英, unless they can come up with a fancier character combination.

For the character 桂, I know a lot of 50-year-old Chinese women are named after 桂芳. For the 英, I think nowadays people perfer to use 瑛 more.

Fortunately, Chinese has numerous homophones. If you really like these two characters, maybe you can try homophones like 樱 instead, which has the same pronounciation as 英. People tend to use more poetic and aesthetic characters for names.

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