A style name ( 字), also known as courtesy name, is a given name symbolizing respect and adulthood. After 20 years of age a person will be bestowed with a style name, which replaces the birthname. Only ones close to the person, such as the parents or a close friend, can still refer to that person with the birthname. A style name is primarily used for males and is usually given by his parents, or by their first personal teacher on the first day of family school. Sometimes one may adopt a self-chosen style name.

The tradition of using style names has been fading since the May Fourth Movement in 1919. There are two common forms of style name, the zì and the hào.

Style name examplesEdit

Family Name Given Name Style Name
Sun Jian Sun Jian Wentai
Lü Bu Bu Fengxian
Yuan Shu Yuan Shu Gonglu
Jiang Wei Jiang Wei Boyue

small note: as mentioned before, a style name -only- replaces ones' birthname, not the entire name. Thus, after Sun Jian reached his twenties, he was called Sun Wentai and not just Wentai.

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