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Strange Surnames (as in not too common)


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Just curious what odd and interesting 姓 people run into and I mean ones that aren't just not on the top 100 list but ones that even Chinese people hear and scratch their head out.

I know of two:

鲍: I have a friend with this surname and she was telling me that so many people get confused by her name. It may just be here in Sichuan that it is uncommon but she is from her so I don't know....

牧: and this one nobody believes is real or they think it must be a minority like the mongols. Interesting reading here

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There is someone surnamed 鲍 in 钱锺书's 围城.

Danwei had an interesting article on this:

"The second-generation national ID card switchover has caused trouble for many people whose names contain obscure characters that are unsupported by the PSB's database. In March of this year, the PSB released a list of 231 characters that were not available in the computer system issuing the IDs; they've been working on a solution, however, and this week announced that 32 of those characters had been incorporated into the software (click the image at left for an enlarged chart)."


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Quick side note from above link:

The Mirror talked to a man named Xin Ge (辛哿), whose given name is one of the characters the system is now able to handle.

Xing Ge said, "All growing up, teachers and classmates were basically unable to read my name the first time they saw it. They'd usually read it as 'He' or 'Qi'. I felt really cool having this name."

Xing's grandmother said, "Choosing the name, I carried a Great Dictionary of Chinese Characters around all day, flipping and flipping through it. After repeated comparisons, I decided this character was the most satisfactory. The dictionary had two definitions for this character, "satisfactory" (可) and "fine" (嘉). And the makeup of the character - the top is 加 and the bottom is 可 - is quite interesting, so the kid's nickname was Kejia - in one stroke we had a name and a nickname."

The misspelled his name twice after giving the correct pinyin....interesting

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Thanks for the correction, muyongshi. No one's pointed that out in over a year - I wonder if people just assume that we're semi-literate and no amount of corrections will help....

There were a few articles prior to National Day that looked at people with names like 国庆 and other patriotic words (link).

And here's a great article that looks at people whose surnames are numbers, dynasties, colors, and foods.

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The former tallest man on earth, Bao Xishun, is also surnamed 鮑. And there is a band called 鮑家街43號, strictly speaking not used as the surname, but I suppose that the street that the band is named after was named after the 鮑 family.

芮 Rui seems to be a surname used mostly to name foreigners.

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There's a Dutch/Chinese writer/translator with the surname 龚. And I think I once had a teacher with that name? but not sure.

段 is also not that uncommon I think, came across the name a few times in texts and books.

I like this thread, people come up with uncommon surnames and then other people go 'I know someone by that name!' :-) I once had a friend surnamed 聶 and he said that was an uncommon surname, but at the same time he had a good friend also named 聶.

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There are also some double character surnames which are not too common, but probably not as rare as some of the single-character surnames that have already been mentioned in this thread. And I'm not referring to the "new" surnames given to children that are a combination of the surnames of the parents. It would be interesting to find out the history behind the ancient double-character surnames.

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  • 2 weeks later...

第伍 was mentioned in a recent report on the name 苟, which some villagers wanted to restore to their former surname, 敬. They'd apparently been forced to change it when the emperor made that character taboo, and they've been stuck with a homophone for 狗 ever since.

The article has a picture of some children with the surname 第伍, the only name remaining out of what used to be a complete series of names 第一 to 第八.

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