is there a rule to follow for the gender of names? or do people not know until they meet the person.

Just as in English, there are some names which sound very masculine or very feminine, and there are others which are less clear. If you look at the general masculinity or femininity of the component characters, you’ll get an idea. Characters such as 威, 雄 and 國 and 一 are more masculine, while characters containing 女 and 玉 are feminine, as are 美, 怡 and 芳. Then there are many neutral characters, like 鶴, 昭, 松, 欣 and 勻. These are often combined with a suitably masculine or feminine character, but if two neutrals are put together, you get an androgynous name, such as 陳鶴勻, which would be suitable for either a boy or girl. Then there are a few males with slightly feminine names, and a few women with somewhat masculine names.

Finally, if you are trying to make up a name for yourself or a friend, my number one recommendation is to get help from native speakers, because they have a far, far better sense for what works well and what doesn’t. You might put a name together that sounds good to you, but native speakers recoil in horror, so beware!

And just to make things even more confusing, you’ll sometimes (although it’s apparently quite rare these days) come across guys with outright feminine names. Bruce Lee’s birth name is a perfect example. This was done to try and throw evil spirits off - in the case of Bruce Lee, it was because apparently there was supposed to be a curse on all the male children of that line, so his parents gave him a girl’s name to try and fool the demons executing the curse.

Didn’t work did it?

Or you get women with masculine sounding names, because their parents had already picked a name, expecting a boy - like my wife’s name :wink: But the word’s rare enough that peopel don’t know how to pronounce it anyway.


Let’s ask Brandon :wink:

I’m curious as to whether I can read the character. Can you type it for us (but don’t give us pronunciation or meaning)? I love challenges.


I don’t know if it’s that hard, but most people mispronounce it.

No looking it up in a dictionary OK.