Just working on some characters and there's one who would be called "aunt" or "auntie" but in the most formal/respectful address possible. Specifically as the mother's older sister if that's important.

  • Could you please indicate which "some characters" are included?
    – PdotWang
    Apr 21 at 19:44

3 Answers 3


How to call your "aunt" in China (Chinese)?

In English, you can respectfully call a lady aunt if she is your father's or mother's sister or your uncle's wife.

In Chinese, you call your mother's sisters "" (yi), such as "大姨", "小姨", "二姨", "三姨".

You call your father's sisters "" (gu), such as "大姑", "小姑", "二姑", "三姑".

You call the wives of your uncles, which are your father's brothers (伯伯 or 叔叔), "大娘" (da niang) or "婶子,婶婶" (shen), such as "二大娘", "三婶".

You call the wives of your uncles, which are your mother's brothers (舅舅), "妗子" (jin zi) or "舅妈" (jiu ma).

In general, the children call those ladies 阿姨 (a yi) such as the kindergarten teachers, nurses of the hospitals, or any of the father's or the mother's friends.


being the mother's older sister absolutely does matter, glad you said it-- all the different aunts and uncles etc have their own words. going to assume there is no third sibling older than the older sister, it would probably be 大姨 ((I say probably becuase these terms can vary region to region)). In chinese culture you are by default respectfully calling older relatives, so this may not come off as especially respectful. Other terms may come off as disrespectful though ((not counting if its a different term just used in different local area)).

In real life these are totally normal words, and zero reason to avoid them. Only becuase its fiction and you want to have full control and understanding over the tone and the mood of a piece, I will let you know eldest aunt is super common euphenism for menstruation besides its normal original use. Shouldn't need to change anything but just keep it in mind when writing dialogue about aunt coming to visit etc haha ((although if mot writing in chinese itself probably won't matter since non chinese speakers won't know the difference)).

Hope this helps :)


In Northern China, "(Rank)姨". rank = 大, 二, 三, 四.... (大 represents the oldest in the family).

In Taiwan, "(Rank)阿姨".

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