Cambridge and Collins are wrong! 名 just means name. It doesn't mean English first name. Is it "其名"? I embolded it in Cambridge's example sentence.

first name | translate to Mandarin Chinese: Cambridge Dictionary

the name that was given to you when you were born and that comes before your family name


It can be rude to call people by their first name if they are much older or more important than you. 对年长或级别高的人直呼其名是不礼貌的。

Chinese Translation of “first name” | Collins English-Chinese Dictionary

first name

n (c)

  1. 名 (míng) (个(個), gè)
  • 名 could also refer to "given name" in Chinese.
    – dan
    Oct 29 '20 at 3:19
  • Googling suggests: 本名 ("personal name"), 首名 ("first name"), 人名 ("personal name"), 予名 ("given name") (or 第一个予名 = "first given name"), and 教名 ("Christian name").
    – Becky 李蓓
    Oct 29 '20 at 3:35
  • 首名 = One who finishes first, e.g. 首名出綫; 人名 = person's name
    – Tang Ho
    Oct 29 '20 at 6:04
  • 1
    What exactly is "wrong" about Cambridge & Collins' definition? 名 just means name, sure, but 名 definitely does not mean surname, and isn't even part of the word for it (which is just 姓). By itself, 名 only refers to first name when referring to a person.
    – dROOOze
    Oct 29 '20 at 7:41

其名 refers to "their name" in Chinese.

名 also refers to "given name"


There are "姓" and "名".

"姓" means surname(also last name or family name). My surname, my father's surname, my grandfather's surname are the same.

"名" means first name(also given name). My parents gave me my first name. And I can change my first name after I'm 18 (usually not).

People from different culture may have different name structure. You can select the same meaning for your translation. For example: The "Will" of "Will Smith" is "名", and the "Smith" of "Will Smith" is "姓".

  • "Cambridge and Collins are wrong!"

NO, they are not wrong.

名 is given name; 姓 is family name. In English, a person's given name comes first, and family name comes last. Hence "given name" is also known as "first name", and "family name" "last name". In Chinese, it's the exact opposite. So the terms "first name" and "last name" can be confusing if you take them literally.

As for your example "对年长或级别高的人直呼其是不礼貌的。" You should have just highlighted 名, and it will all make sense. 其 means "the person's".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.