At work I've gained the nickname "Oreo Boy" because everyone's twice my age or older (hence the "boy") and I've got a noticeable habit of stuffing my face with junk from the vending machine (hence the "Oreo"). After some thought I decided my Chinese nickname and internet handle would be 小奥利奥 because it takes my IRL nickname into consideration but it's also a double entendre because of my mixed heritage.

I'm currently deciding on what I'd like my actual 名字 to be and I'd like to pick somebody's mind about my current selection (my IRL name is Justin):

  1. 竭心 - jié xīn - "To do one's utmost." From what I understand, Chinese parents often pick positive and/or masculine words for their son's name and this one seems to fit that niche.

  2. 居心 - jū xīn - Acording to Yabla this can mean both "a tranquil heart or mind" and "to harbor (evil) intentions", the former sounds like a proper name while the latter sounds chuuni (and yet I like it).

  3. 嘉鑫 - jiā xīn - Doesn't seem to translate to any specific phrase, just conveys the two ideas, "excellence" and "prosperity". From a brief search I found that this is a legitimate name being used but I'm not really fond of it.

  4. 酒神 - jiǔ shén - The Wine God of Roman mythology, Bacchus. Can't say anyone would ever take me seriously if I picked a name like that.

Just to clarify so that my question isn't marked as "opinion based" or "too broad", I am asking if any of the names I've listed could pass as an actual name in China, or if you heard these names would instantly be able to tell that it was a foreigner?

  • How about the surname you plan to take? Commented Dec 5, 2019 at 3:07
  • @TooskyHierot I haven't given it any thought yet Commented Dec 5, 2019 at 3:19
  • 1, 2, 4 are all bad , 3 is ok. but sounds dated. If I heard any of those names, I would know they are not written by native Chinese
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Dec 5, 2019 at 4:06
  • Agree with the answers. I think maybe you can name yourself 丁嘉? 丁 is a common surname in China. 嘉 is a good word, and if you read backward, it sounds similar to Justin. If you want to add a surname to have 3 character name, you can also use 汀(ting1) instead of 丁. You can also play with 嘉 by changing it to 佳 or 加, all contains good meaning and will definitely be chosen as a Chinese name
    – sylvia
    Commented Dec 5, 2019 at 5:22
  • I 100% sure 丁嘉 would be made fun of as 家丁
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Dec 5, 2019 at 6:15

3 Answers 3


None of them is good enough.

竭心 is weird.

竭 means to exhaust as in 尽心竭力.

BUT while you can say 尽力, you cannot say 竭心, because you cannot exhaust your heart, while 尽 means to do most/to do to the greatest extent, so uou can say 尽心.

居心 is originally constructed the same as 属意, “to place your heart/mind at”

it cannot stand alone to mean anything:

居心叵测(hard to know where one's heart is placed—— harbouring unfathomable motives)

汝居心正,吾知免矣(《三国志》)(You place your heart upright, (so) I know (I) do not (have to worry about you)—— You are a upright man, ...)

居心 do not mean a tranquil heart or mind Yabla is not always reliable.

When emphasized, 居心 is always a derogatory word:

其人有居心(The man is certainly placing his heart at something—— He is ill intended)

嘉鑫 a mediocre, common name.

酒神 a overly specific name of a foreign deity.

The three bold aspects should all be avoided in a Chinese name.

For example, the name 公明 is good, but no one of surname 赵 will use it as a name.(赵公明 is a deity)


1, 2, 4 are all bad , 3 is ok. but sounds dated. If I heard any of those names, I would know they are not written by native Chinese

竭心 reminds people of 心脏衰竭 (heart failure)

居心 reminds people of 居心不良 (have bad intention)

嘉鑫 can be a real name, but 鑫 is an archaic character that almost no one know it.

酒神 means "god of wine" It is more a nickname or a title than a serious name. Also 酒神 pronounces like 走神 (distracted)


The answers given so far should tell you the hidden dangers of amateurishly giving or making up names in Chinese, (hence my reluctance elsewhere to venture a recommendation), because of the multifarious meanings and connotations a single, (let alone two), Chinese word could potentially carry, and added to this is the real possibility that certain words may convey totally different / negative / hilarious meanings / connotations in a certain dialect, especially the notoriously multi-tonal Cantonese.

I totally agree that 1,2,4 could never ever be used as names for real persons; may be in a, say, Chinese martial arts novel, (武 侠 小 说), where dastardly, unsavory characterizations reflected in the names of characters are the norm.

Even option #3 sounds uncomfortable to a Chinese ear.

How about a seemingly innocent transliteration of a "western" name? Here too lie many hidden dangers. Just like every other people, making fun of people's names, especially among Chinese school children, is actually a favorite pastime, even considered an art form.

So, consider this name -- Michael Xi. Transliterated into Cantonese it sounds like, (mai gai sea), in mandarin 卖 鸡 屎, (seller of chicken excrement)

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