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In Chinese-speaking societies around the world, an honorific title is attached after the family name of an individual when addressing that person. Aside from addressing colleagues or family of equal or lesser rank, it is considered impolite to refer to others by their name only.

Honorific titles

Main article: Chinese honorifics

The most common honorific titles are similar to the English Mr, Sir, Mrs, Ms, Miss, Madam, etc. The Chinese titles, unlike in English, always follow the name of the person and can stand alone.



Occupational titles

Chinese people often address professionals in formal situations by their occupational titles. These titles can either follow the surname (or full name) of the person in reference, or it can stand alone either as a form of address or if the person being referred to is unambiguous without the added surname.


Main article: Education in China

The use of the term equivalent of "Doctorate / doctor" (博士, bóshì) is less common in Chinese as it is in English. The term boshi is used both as an honorific title and a name for the degree. Like in English, holders of a doctorate can have the title added to their names (but at the end instead of before), but use of the undistinguishing xiānshēng or nǚshì (or professional titles such as jiàoshòu) is much more prevalent.

Government and politics


Main article: Traditional Chinese medicine

Martial arts

Main article: Chinese martial arts

A list of titles when addressing a martial arts master.[1] The titles below are listed by the Mandarin pronunciation which is the national language in China. In the West, the titles are more commonly known by their Cantonese pronunciation which are given in brackets.

See also


  1. ^ "Who's Your Daddy? Master vs. Sifu in Chinese Martial Arts". Traditional Asian Health Center. Archived from the original on 2006-10-18. Retrieved 2006-07-17.