Ancient Terminologies: I Synonyms

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Brief Description

In Ancient China, people didn't simply say, "I" or "me". There are many ways one can address themselves, depending on the status and intention of the person.

I/Me Synonyms

Chinese Pinyin Literal Meaning Description
晚生 Wǎn shēng Born Later Usually used to address older people, but never people of higher status but younger age.
我等 Wǒ děng My Kind A word used by someone that refers to people of his kind.
我辈 Wǒ bèi My Generation
我躬 Wǒ gōng I, Personally
卑人 Bēi rén Humble Person A laudatory title for men which also shows humility in the way he is speaking.
敝人 Bì rén Shabby Person Addressing oneself in modesty.
Mǒu Who Used to indicate humbleness, used by itself or suffixes surnames.
卑身 Bēi shēn Modest Person Addressing oneself in humility.
鄙老 Bǐ lǎo Old Humble Addressing oneself in modesty.
Stupid A word used when one is referring themselves as unintelligent or clumsy.
老身 Lǎoshēn Old Person A word wives often use to refer to themselves.
老婆 Lǎo pó Old Woman A word married women often use on themselves.
Ye Master A word often used by heroes and the head of the household.
大爷 Dà yé Great Master/Uncle A laudatory word the rich often uses to refer to themselves.
姑奶奶 Gū nǎinai Aunt A laudatory word females use on themselves, such as often showing that they are pleased with themselves.
老娘 Lǎo niáng Old Mother A word heroines often use to refer to themselves, like they are just so amazing they can be someone's mother.
Ǎn I This is a very informal way of saying "I/me", to the point that it's becoming and indication of illiteracy, ignorance, stupidity or rural background. (ex: Chai Hu in Strange Heroes Yi Zhi Mei)
本小姐 Běn xiǎojiě This Miss A laudatory word that young ladies use on themselves.
本姑娘 Běn gūniang This Girl A laudatory word that young ladies use on themselves.
鄙人 Bǐrén Your Humble Servant
寡人 Guǎ rén Widowed Person
老夫 Lǎo fū Old Elder A term old men often use to describe themselves.
小人 Xiǎo rén Little Person While using it to refer to someone else is insulting (that they are low and scheming), it is a humble form of "I/me" when referring to self.
小的 Xiǎo de Small Same as above.
小可 Xiǎo kě Self address.
小子 Xiǎo zi Punk/Rascal
小生 Xiǎo shēng Little Student Usually used by scholars/students as a humble way to refer to self.
小道 Xiǎo dào Little Taoist
小僧 Xiǎo sēng Little Monk
贫僧 Pín sēng Insufficient Monk A word used by monks to refer to themselves in humility.
贫道 Pín dào Insufficient Taoist
贫尼 Pín ní Insufficient Nun
Zán We
老子 Lǎo zi Old Father Something that husbands often use to address themselves, or men who likes to be seen as an Old Father.
在下 Zài xià At Below Humble way of saying self.
本人 Běn rén Myself/Oneself Self Address.
Solitary Someone addressing themselves to represent that they're lonely.
I/My
Qiè My
属下 Shǔ xià Belong Below Used when speaking to superiors that's in an actual structured hierarchy, such as the government, or a household (as oppose to vague age or status comparison).
奴婢 Nú bì Slave Female Self referring pronoun for female servants.
奴才 Nú cái Slave Self referring pronoun for male or female servants.
I/Me
本宫 Běn gōng This Palace A word often used by Empresses to address themselves, representing that they are in charge of the palace.
本座 Běn zuò This Seat A word where someone in powerful authority addresses themselves, representing that they own this seat/position.
本王 Běn wáng This Prince A word used by princes to address themselves.
小乙 Xiǎo yǐ
洒家 Sǎ jiā
小弟 Xiǎodì Small Younger Brother A modest word where people of the same generation refers to themselves.
哀家 Āi jiā Sad Family After the Empress loses her husband and becomes the Empress Dowager, she calls herself this, which emphasizes on that she's now a sad, pitiful woman without a husband.
老纳 Lǎo nà A self addressing term for old monks or abbots.
Zhèn I Imperial use only. The first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang chose this word, originally a simple first person pronoun, to be exclusively used by the emperor. Use of this word by any other person is blasphemy and treason. Often it becomes a habit for the emperor to use this instead of the regular first person pronoun, and has lead to some plot points in identifying an incognito emperor.
Chén Official Used by the officials to address themselves when talking to the Emperor.
为兄 Wèi xiōng Elder Brother A word which elder siblings use to address themselves.
为父 Wèi fù Father A word which fathers use to address themselves in a modest way, particularly when they are speaking to their children.
为妻/为妾 Wèi qī/wèi qiè Wife/Concubine
妾身 Qiè shēn Concubine A word which concubines refer to themselves.
奴家 Nú jiā A word of humility used by heroines.
僾尼 Ài ní A word which the Hani Clan uses to address themselves.
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