Chinese personal names are names used by those from Greater China and other parts of the Chinese-speaking world throughout East Asia and Southeast Asia. In addition, many names used in Korea and Vietnam are often ancient adaptations of Chinese characters (from Hancha and Hán-Nôm respectively) in respect to the influences they have garnered geographically or may have historical roots in Chinese, due to China's cultural influence in the region historically.
Modern Chinese names consist of a family name (xìngshì; 姓氏), which comes first and is usually but not always monosyllabic, followed by a given name (míng; 名), which is almost always disyllabic, consisting of two characters. Prior to the 21st century, most educated Chinese men also utilized a "courtesy name" or "style name" (zì; 字) by which they were known among those outside their family and closest friends. Respected artists or poets will sometimes also use a professional "art name" (hào; 號; 号) among their social peers.
From at least the time of the Shang dynasty, the Chinese observed a number of naming taboos regulating who may or may not use a person's given name (without being disrespectful). In general, using the given name connoted the speaker's authority and superior position to the addressee. Peers and younger relatives were barred from speaking it. Owing to this, many historical Chinese figures—particularly emperors—used a half-dozen or more different names in different contexts and for different speakers. Those possessing names (sometimes even mere homophones) identical to the emperor's were frequently forced to change them. The normalization of personal names after the May Fourth Movement has generally eradicated aliases such as the school name and courtesy name but traces of the old taboos remain, particularly within families.