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xian 仙 tattoo?


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Hi guys

first post here - My daughters middle name is Xian (father in laws name was Ian - added an x and there you go!) - it's also a Chinese city and from my limited research means something about immortal.....

I'm thinking about getting the symbol 仙 (apparently it's Chinese for Xian) tattooed on my shoulder - but beforehand I should check with those of you literate in Chinese if it's appropriate or not.

Thanks in advance



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The name of the city is Xi'an, written 西安. It's a completely different word. 仙 reads Xian and means something like fairy, immortal. Personally I'd think that if you tattoo this on yourself, people who can read it will think that you consider yourself an immortal.

Is your daughter in fact Chinese (or partly Chinese)? If not, consider just getting her real name, 'Xian', tattooed in a nice font.

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What Lu said. And there are a lot of homophones for "Xian" (not "Xi'an" the city with the apostrophe) besides 仙/fairy, immortal. I list a few below (which are commonly used in names) so you could consider -

賢 - good and wise

嫻 - refined and kind

顯 - distinct and honoured

Actually you can use the city name "西安" as her name if you like. It is quite unique. But be prepared for people asking you why you have tattooed a city's name on yourself.

With an apostrophe (two syllables) there could be a lot of combinations. Here are some for your consideration -

熹安 - warm and peaceful

熙安 - happy and peaceful

喜安 - happy and peaceful

You may wish to know that Chinese names can be made up quite freely by combining different words. People may not instantly recognise tattooed Chiense as a name. They may think that it is a description of yourself/ your aspiration, etc.

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wow...thankyou all so much for your responses.... very much appreciated....

I like the "look" of 仙 - hence my idea of using it for a tattoo - I'm glad that you've helped me differentiate xian from xi'an......

Lu.. Do you think that the symbol 仙 looks like I'm big noting myself? Because I definitely don't want that - but the idea of it being somehow representing more than this world and its restrictions is cool

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Well, 仙 is a noun, meaning immortal [person], not the concept of immortality. It's not an adjective meaning immortal either. A 仙 is a person who can 長生不老, or live long without getting old. They're sometimes called transcendents rather than immortals, and an interesting new book by Robert Campany claims they were seen as holy persons. Putting it on your body might make people think you're claiming you're one, so I would be careful about that :)

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