Musings on Character Names (WIP)

Names and Their Meanings

How I say the names

Shen Qiao (沈峤, Shěn Qiáo)

  • The qiáo (峤) has a mountain shān (山) in it. And this qiáo can refer to a tall and steep mountain.
  • Shen Qiao was rescued by Qi Fengge, but was too young to know how to write his own name, hence Qi Fengge (in traditional book exclusive extra) chose qiáo (峤), which is part of To appease all gods, extending towards the rivers and highest mountains[1] and his wish for Shen Qiao was that he hoped for Shen Qiao to grow up to be someone with a heart as vast as the tallest mountain peaks.

    [1]  huái róu bǎi shén, jí hé jiào yuè (怀柔百神, 及河峤岳)

  • In Chapter 14, Mu Tipo asks if the Qiao in Shen Qiao’s name is the same qiáo (乔) as dà qiáo (大乔) and xiǎo qiáo (小乔) – who are a pair of legendary famous beauties, also referred to as the Two Qiaos of Jiangdong, their actual names were not known. Da Qiao married the warlord Sun Ce of Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms period, and Xiao Qiao married Zhou Yu (a general of Sun Ce, and later of Sun Quan). Mu Tipo said that if it was indeed the same character, then the person was truly worthy of the name, i.e. Shen Qiao was also a beauty. When Shen Qiao told him the actual character, Mu Tipo could quote the same phrase that Qi Fengge had used, but also commented that the name was too swift and fierce for someone this beautiful.
  • In the AD Season 2, Episode 6. Dou Yan asks Shen Qiao if his Shen is the same Shen from yú shěn (榆沈) – meaning the juice from the elm skin/peel, referred to in the book of rites 《礼记·檀弓下》. The resulting slime is used as a lubricant for the hearse. His Qiao is the same as yuán qiáo (员峤) which is one of the fairy mountains in the east of the Bohai Sea, from Lie Zi – Tang Wen 《列子·汤问》. Yang Bojun explained that this Qiao, refers to the mountains being sharp/resolute and tall.
  • Shen Qiao uses an alias shān qiáo zi (山乔子). (山) refers to mountain, but (乔) has several meanings including high, pretend, or rogue. If we consider the possible wordplay, 山乔子 could mean mountain rogue person/son or mountain fake person/son. Also, the two words shān qiáo (山乔) when put together in one word, make up the qiáo (峤) of  Shen Qiao’s name.

Yan Wushi (晏无师, Yàn Wúshī)

  • yàn (晏) – It can mean evening, a clear and bright sky, stability, vibrant.

I guess maybe because there was betrayal and chaos in his background, he chose a surname meaning stability, a clear and bright sky?

  • wú shī (无师) literally means no teacher. There is a longer Chinese idiom wú shī zì tōng (无师自通) which means self-taught, and it commends someone for the ability to learn something without have a teacher.

Xie Ling (谢陵, Xiè Líng)

  • The líng (陵) can mean to climb over the earth and mountains/climbing and ascending. HE CLIMBED A MOUNTAIN ALRIGHT.
  • líng (陵) can also refer to a mausoleum líng mù (陵墓)

So Xie Ling is Yan Wushi’s former self’s mausoleum. Little Extra 2 said that he left the Xie family by choice. Something really really bad must have happened for him to leave his family and change his name, but not bad enough that he still uses it as a pseudonym.

Qi Fengge (祁凤阁, Qí Fènggé)

  • (祁) is a surname. It can also mean large, vast.
  • fèng (凤)  – phoenix (the same character in the martial art that Yan Wushi was practicing, 凤麟元典)
  • (阁) – pavilion. This is why the donghua misspells his name as “Qifeng Pavilion”. 
  • fèng gé (凤阁) – can refer to ornate pavilions, like those in the palace. 

Yu Ai (郁蔼, Yù Ǎi)

  • (郁)is a surname. It depicts lush vegetation with a pervasive fragrance. It can also refer to rich literary talent, abundance, fine, rich aroma, luxuriant. It also can depict melancholy and gloom due to worries.
  • ǎi (蔼)- amiable, friendly, good attitude.
  • yù ǎi (郁蔼)- used to refer to luxuriant/lush vegetation.

Bian Yanmei (边沿梅, Biān Yánméi)

  • biān (边) – surname. Can mean edge, boundary.
  • yán (沿) – to follow (a tradition), along, border, edge.
  • méi (梅) – plum. Plum is one of the four gentlemen (plum, orchid, bamboo, and chrysanthemum).

According to the QQ small theatre, SQ asks YWS why Bian Yanmei is always not around.

YWS says its because his name is not good. He is always on the edge of the program buying soy sauce (打酱油, dǎ jiàng yóu), which can mean passerby or a bit part actor in TV or film shows. Since he was on the fringe/edge (边沿, biān yán), he is gone (没, méi) (pronounced the same as his name méi 梅)


Yu Shengyan (玉生烟, Yù Shēngyān)

His name is probably from Tang poet Li Shangyin’s poem Jinse《锦瑟》“沧海月明珠有泪,蓝田日暖玉生烟. 此情可待成追忆?只是当时已惘然.” (“cāng hǎi yuè míng zhū yǒu lèi , lán tián rì nuǎn yù shēng yān . cǐ qíng kě dài chéng zhuī yì? zhī shì dāng shí yǐ wǎng rán”)

The poem roughly means, the bright pearls abandoned in the sea, will glow in the moonlight. Like the tears of *jiaoren (something like merpeople), such beautiful wishes, are like smoke-like clouds billowing from the jade-like Mount Lantian, can be seen but cannot be reached/inaccessible. It describes exceptionally beautiful scenery.\



Guang Lingsan (广陵散, Guǎng Língsàn)

  • Some traditional Chinese medicine uses the same san (散), which led to this joke.
  • It is also a famous guqin piece, one of the most famous pieces.

Yuwen Song (宇文诵, Yǔwén Sòng)

  • yǔwén (宇文) is a Xianbei (ancient nomadic people from the steppes) surname and was the surname of the Northern Zhou dynasty. 
  • sòng (诵) means to recite/declaration/narration. 

Shiwu (十五, Shíwǔ)

  • means “fifteen”. Can represent the full moon of the fifteenth of the month.

Duan Ying (段缨, Duàn Yīng)

  • duàn (段) – surname. Can mean a part, breaking, forging, the sound of pounding on a stone.
  • yīng (缨) – tassel, colored ribbon, belt. Can also be a metaphor for restraint.

Bai Rong (白茸, Bái Róng)  

  • bái róng (白茸) – a nickname or other name for peony (牡丹花, mǔ dān huā)
  • bái (白) – white
  • róng (茸) – refers to the horns with fine hair/fur on the head of a deer, or soft fuzzy grass. Can also mean velvet/velvety, or fine and soft.

So does that mean Bai Rong is the fuzzy fur on Ah-Qiao’s head?

Li Qingyu(李青鱼, Lǐ Qīngyú)

  • The characters for his name qīng yú (青鱼) can be literally translated as green fish/carp.

They were drinking fish head soup with green vegetables ordered by Yan Wushi.

Shen Qiao is amused as he watches Li Green Fish (with his head down) slurping up the fish head soup with greens.
SQ is also a bit of a prankster because when Li Qingyu mentioned that the soup was good, SQ replied “Yes, and the green veggies are very fresh.”

In the small theatre of the audio drama, YWS keeps saying tóu (头) which means fish head, when Li Qingyu (李青鱼) is formally introducing himself.

LQY: This humble one is Li Qingyu (李青鱼). 
YWS: Tóu (头).
(This repeats several times before LQY gets frustrated and wants to beat up YWS.)




2 thoughts on “Musings on Character Names (WIP)

  1. Excuse my very very very bad habit of not remembering names,…so I thought that I read that part where YWS was part of the Xie family, but I think it was part of the extras, then I thought I might have misremembered and it was actually about CBQ’s past. So are they both part of the Xie family?
    It’s hilarious how I read it in my mind before w/o knowing the pinyin and then realizing now the intonation is completely different. 🤣😂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s