Honorifics

***Under construction***

This is a glossary of Chinese honorifics and terms of address. A person’s title or profession may be used as an honorific form of address. In ancient times, referring to oneself (first-person) and others (second-person) are often done in third-person.

More in-depth: here.

Jump to:
Daoist/Cultivation Honorifics
Imperial/Historical Honorifics
Miscellaneous

Note: I’m lazy on the pinyin, so they’re w/o the accent marks that denotes tone.
Note 2: This is not a complete list: just the common ones, those that have shown up so far in my translations, and their related terms.


Daoist/Cultivation Honorifics

Martial Family

Chinese Pinyin Translation Notes
师父/师傅/师尊 Shifu/Shifu/Shizun Master
师伯 Shibo Martial Uncle Used to address your master’s senior martial brothers.
师叔 Shishu Martial Uncle/Martial Aunt Used to address your master’s junior martial brothers. Also used for Martial Aunt despite the gendered term.
师兄 Shixiong Senior (Martial) Brother
师弟 Shidi Junior (Martial) Brother
师姐 Shijie Senior (Martial) Sister
师妹 Shimei Junior (Martial) Sister
师侄 Shizhi Martial Nephew/Niece

Titles/Other Terms of Address

Chinese Pinyin Translation Notes
祖师 Zushi Founder/Grandmaster
掌门 Zhangmen Sect Master
道人 Daoren Daoist Lit. A person of dao.
真人 Zhenren True/Real/Perfected Person A spiritual daoist master. On a level comparable to daoren.
真君 Zhenjun True/Real/Perfected Lord On a level higher than zhenren.
天君 Tianjun Heavenly Lord
大师 Dashi (Great) Master Not master that you accept as your teacher, but to address a professional.
道友 Daoyou Fellow Daoist Used to call daoists of the same generation but different sects.
小友 Xiaoyou Young Daoist Lit. Young/Little Friend, but is used as Young Daoist. Used by seniors to address younger daoists.
贫道 Pindao This (poor) daoist Used by daoists to refer to themselves. “Poor” used as a humble term.
贫僧 Pinseng This (poor) monk Used by Buddhist monks to refer to themselves humbly.
施主 Shizhu Benefactor Term used by monks to address a layperson.

Imperial/Historical Honorifics

Royalty

Chinese Pinyin Translation Notes
Zhen (Royal) We/Us/Our Employed by the Emperor to refer to himself.
儿臣 Erchen This child and subject Employed by the imperial children to refer to themselves before their parents or the Emperor’s other consorts. Also used by the Emperor before the Empress Dowager.
陛下 Bixia Your/His Majesty Used to address the Emperor. Can be used by itself or as a suffix after the title (in Chinese).
圣上 Shengshang Your/His Majesty Used to address the Emperor directly or referring to the Emperor in third person.
殿下 Dianxia Your/His/Her (Royal) Highness Can be used directly to address an imperial family member or as a suffix after the title of imperial family member.
父皇 Fuhuang Father Emperor/Imperial Father Used by the children of the Emperor to address the Emperor.

Officials/Commoners/Other

Chinese Pinyin Translation Notes
大人 Daren Sir/Madam/Lord Used to address an official or someone in authority. Can be used after a title or name.
(愛)卿 (Ai)qing (Beloved) Official Used by the Emperor to refer to their officials or other members of the imperial family.

Miscellaneous

These are miscellaneous terms that can be used in most settings (cultivation/historical/modern/etc.). Some used less often in modern settings.

Chinese Pinyin Translation Notes
老子 Laozi I, your grandfather/father Used by males to refer to themselves, announcing their superiority and often arrogantly.
老娘 Laoniang I, your grandmother/mother Female equiv. for laozi.
老夫 Laofu This old (and repected) man Used by elderly males to refer to themselves.

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