Recently, I had someone from Taiwan help me create Chinese name for myself to use when writing/communicating with those in Chinese speaking areas.

In our discussion, I had suggested 大恩 as a given/first name based on some of his guidance and ideas, to which he replied that the usage of 大 in a name is uncommon and makes the name seem "Unsophisticated", and recommended 太恩 as an alternative. This surprised me as I was of the understanding that "大" was a common character for use in names.

I've since looked into this to see if I could learn more about what he was referencing, and found that the name 大恩 is (relatively) common and can't seem to find anyone discussing stigma behind the "大" character. Looking up 太恩 as well shows that it is uncommon compared to 大恩.

So my question is, is 大恩 really an "Unsophisticated' sounding given name because of the 大 character, and that it's better to go with 太恩? If so, is this stigma something that applies to all of the Chinese speaking regions, or only a few?

Or is that idea just not correct and 大恩 is completely fine to go with?
(Or is it perhaps better different name entirely if both aren't great?)

Any help would be appreciated! Thanks

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    In the old, old days when education and literacy was confined to large towns and cities, village folks used the simplest, most rudimentary words to name their children. Thus in choosing a middle name, simple words like 大, 中, (easy to write as well), which have many positive connotations were chosen. Since it was common among village folks, people considered it "unsophisticated" Maybe not now as the social, educational boundaries between villages and cities are disappearing. Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 5:41
  • may i ask, what’s the surname, preceding 大恩? Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 13:55
  • @水巷孑蠻 Sure! It's 高, so the full name is 高大恩. EDIT: I'm also considering 城 as a surname, as it's close in meaning to my normal last name. Not sure which of the two is better. Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 20:36
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    @Wayne Cheah that reminds me of a joke- two grade students were punished for the same misconduct. Each of them has to write his name one hundred times, 丁大一 didn't seem to mind, but 墨國隆 objected strongly. (my reaction was, let them write their English names)
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 21:48
  • 1
    “城” as a surname? no way🙀 “高大恩” is quite good, as a layman name 😸 Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 1:41

3 Answers 3


Your friend's opinion was his personal opinion, in my opinion, because 大 is a simple character, many under-educated people in the olden times often name their child with it. But there's no implication of 'unsophisticated' in the character 大 itself.

Names like 大牛 (big bull) or 大蝦(big shrimp) might be unsophisticated because 1. those likely just nicknames 2. 大 in those names simply means 'big' or 'oldest'. If 大牛 and 大蝦 have a younger brother they would probably be 二牛 and 細蝦.

Does the name 張大千 sound unsophisticated? I don't think so, 大千 refers to 大千世界, and 大 here refers to 'grand' e.g. 大唐、大德、大義.

The name 大恩 would remind people of the common expression 大恩大德, I would guess 大恩 refers to 'grace of God' (神的恩典)

P.S. 大同 in 大同世界 (The great harmony - The perfect state) or 大智 in 大智若愚(seem foolish but actually have true wisdom) is also a good name

  • Ahhh, I see, that makes sense! Thank you for that! In your option, do you think 大恩 is a decent name? Or would the 太恩 recommended to me be a better option? I like the meaning of 大恩 as well as how it translates to nearby languages, having equivalents in Korea and Japan, so if it's a fine name I think I'll go with it. Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 1:57
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    @Matthew Castellana 大恩(great grace) and 太恩(grand/ultimate grace) mean almost the same to me. Both are fine
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 2:00
  • Awesome, I think I'll go with 大恩 going forward. Thank you so much for the help! Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 2:04
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    I agree. First, the name is yours, and what you are willing to be called. Secondly, it does not link to something with derogative means. Lastly, it is easy to pronounce and write, which is a big plus IMO.
    – r13
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 19:32

In my opinion, "unsophisticated" is good!

sophist: "one who makes use of fallacious arguments,"
sophisticated: "mixed with a foreign substance, impure; no longer simple or natural,"

I know a girl called 王大姣, but I always call her Big King, not Big Pretty!

  • 1
    姣 as a name in Cantonese is a no, no. It means 'wanton and lustful' 發姣 means 'in heat'
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 1:57
  • @Pedroski Haha, yeah, that's very true! Sometimes a simple or unsophisticated name can be the much better option over something complex or "sophisticated", especially when being used by someone who's learning the language / just entering the culture. Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 2:00
  • @TangHo that is probably a reflection on the lustful wanton nature of the Cantonese! She is a very sweet nice girl!!
    – Pedroski
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 8:24
  • @Pedroski 姣 /haau4 / (adj) flirtatious; coquettish; promiscuous | 姣 /gaau2/(adj) pretty; handsome; beautiful. I am sure your friend's 姣 is read /gaau2/ as in 姣好; 姣潔
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 8:32
  • I thought it was jiao1, but Cantonese has a few more tones than people need!
    – Pedroski
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 8:44

Your friend could also have been referring to the fact that 大 is occasionally used with a character of their name or some other character to create an informal nickname, along with 小,老,阿, etc. So perhaps they meant it could sound informal and unsophisticated in that sense?

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