Wednesday 1 March 2017

About Notable Names

This public collection of weird names began because it was noticeable that people in Hong Kong have a high proportion of notable English first names that are, to say the least, creative, funny and even daring. They stand out amongst traditional and somewhat ordinary (or common) names like Elizabeth, Margaret, Thomas and William.

For instance, a pre-2007 analysis of registered solicitors in Hong Kong revealed 2.5% (i.e. 143 out of 5,707) have notable names. These are legal professionals who consciously like to be called Alcid, Baptista, Crimean, Ferant, Kiril, Tennessy, Urania, Wimmie and Winchester. Where else in the world are there a bunch of educated, smart professionals who have silly first names? A more recent observation in 2017 shows 19% (8 out of 43) of people working within a charity group called InspiringHK have notable names. Chances are for every 5 or 6 people you meet in Hong Kong, at least one will possess a weird and notable name.

A Notable Name here is defined as uncommon, unusual or unique. Over the years in Hong Kong, I have collected a fair number of notable names (which is why this site features a regular "Notable Name of the Day" post).

Possessing a notable name is a phenomenon that is observed most frequently among Hong Kong Chinese, whereas it is relatively less common to spot a notable name among, say, mainland Chinese, Singapore Chinese and Taiwanese (although in all likelihood there will be a growing number of people from China, Singapore and Taiwan who will probably choose interesting "Western" names too). But what is it about the psyche of Hong Kong Chinese that compels them to lead the way in creating and using odd-sounding notable names? Some academics (featured here) have had a crack at explaining this phenomenon.

From my understanding, when individuals in a society are unaware or are ignorant of name rules or memes (due to English being a second or foreign language) then, depending on how that society regards the values of "creativity" and "conformity", there will be individuals who will adopt rare, uncommon names (e.g. Adolph) and perhaps even create their own notable names (e.g. Alnwick). Dare I ask whether expressions of creativity and free thought are relatively more common in Hong Kong compared with, say, Singapore and mainland China?

There are other possible reasons (e.g. mainland Chinese are relative latecomers in adopting English first names, Singaporeans have a relatively better grasp of traditional English, etc). It would be fascinating to hear other people's thoughts on this, so here are other articles about the subject of Notable Names: What's in a Hong Kongers Name? (; Hong Kong Loves Weird Names (The Atlantic); Your Name Reveals More Than You Think ( and Hilarious English Names Chinese People Choose (

In the meantime, I hope this site's "Notable Name of the Day" feature will bring enjoyment, laughter and curiosity to readers.

If you come across any strange, weird names that really stand out, please pass it on to this site (email: spotshk at; you will be credited. If you can include the person's full name, occupation, location and if possible a photo or a reference link, that would be extremely helpful. Thank you!

Disclaimer: To the best of our knowledge all Notable Names or Novel Names or HKSAR Names on this site represent real people with legitimate and officially-recognized names.  


Brand-based (e.g. Kitty, Mercedes, Fanta, etc)

Complete Creation (e.g. Quesifer, Esvin, Evon)

Creation (e.g. Chlorophyll)

Deletion (e.g. Phenix, Daris)

Geography-based (e.g. Chelsea, Brooklyn)

Insertion (e.g. Shally, Aprille)

Job-based (e.g. Mango for a chef, Vinci for Southeby's worker, etc)
Literature-based (e.g. Ulysses, Byron, Dumas)

Name-son; son-suffix (e.g. Revson, Kenson)

Nature-based (e.g. Apple, Koala, Daffodil, etc)

Phonetic-based (e.g. Hacken, Sherlock)

Self-Important (e.g. Adolf, Athena, Caesar, Cleopatra, Wise, etc)

Substitution (e.g. Alax, Ulfred)

Translocation (single, double, multiple) (e.g. Gloris)

Related Posts:

0324 HKSAR Name of the Day (see comments, which are insightful)

Picking and Choosing Names: Korea

Mr Bean On Silly Names

About Novel HKSAR Names (see comments, which are insightful)


Other people's thoughts on novel names:

What's in a Hong Kongers Name? (

Hong Kong Loves Weird English Names (The Atlantic) 

Your Name Reveals More Than You Think (

Mun Yin Liu: Why are Hong Kong names so weird?  (CNN Travel)
Shanghai Surprise


What's in a name?

1 comment:

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