How popular is the baby name Shenao in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Shenao.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Shenao

Posts that Mention the Name Shenao

Baby Name Story: Xiaoai

Jiuzhaigou, Sichuan, China

On May 12, 2008, China’s Sichuan province was struck by a strong earthquake that ultimately killed tens of thousands of people

Zhang Xiaoyan, who was eight months pregnant at the time, wasn’t one of the victims. But she did end up trapped under a pile of rubble for 52 hours. “For two days, rescuers passed food and water to Zhang through a small hole as they struggled to find a way to free her.”

A month later, her baby girl was delivered via Caesarean section.

The girl was originally going to be named “Yingao”, meaning “to welcome the Olympics”, which Beijing hosted in August that year.

But after the quake, the couple decided on “Xiaoai”, or “little love”, to honour those whose care helped see them through the disaster.

In Chinese, xiao means “little” and ai means “love.” (Both words also have other meanings, though, depending upon the characters being used.)

Other Chinese babies that were named with earthquakes in mind include Zhongde, Zhensheng, Lutian, and Yuanyuan. And other Olympics-inspired Chinese baby names include Aoyun, Shen’ao, Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying, and Nini.


Image by h87010511 from Pixabay

Chinese Names that Reflect Moments in History

Chinese general Zhu De (1886-1976).
Chinese general Zhu De

Many Chinese babies are given names that reflect current events. As time goes by, these current events become past events, in turn making Chinese names a lens through which to view historical Chinese events/attitudes.

During the post-Civil War 1950s, when Chinese parents had “hopes for a prosperous country,” popular baby names included:

  • Dongfeng, meaning “eastern wind”
  • Guangqiang, meaning “strong nation”
  • Jianguo, which refers to the establishment of the People’s Republic
  • Jianhua, which also refers to the establishment of the People’s Republic
  • Minzhu, meaning “democracy”
  • Qiangguo, meaning “strong nation”

While the Korean War (1950-1953) was being fought, popular baby names included:

  • Kangmei, meaning “resist U.S. aggression”
  • Weiguo, meaning “guard China’s territory against infringement”
  • Yuanchao, meaning “aid the Korean people”

Yuanchao was the name chosen by Zhu De (above), former commander-in-chief of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, for his eldest grandson (b. 1951). It’s also the name of the current Vice President of the People’s Republic of China, Li Yuanchao (b. 1950).

During the years of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), when Chinese parents wanted to demonstrate “their loyalty to the revolution,” popular baby names included:

  • Weidong, meaning “protect Dong” [Chairman Mao Zedong]
  • Weihong, meaning “protect red”
  • Wenge, meaning “cultural revolution”
  • Xuenong, meaning “learn from the peasants”

From in the 1990s and early 2000s, while China was gearing up for Summer Olympics in Beijing, popular baby names included:

  • Aoyun, meaning “Olympics”
  • Shen’ao, meaning “bid for the Olympics”

Some of the names above were given to hundreds of thousands of babies in China. Combine that with the relatively small number of Chinese surnames, and the result is oodles of people with identical full names, which I’m sure gets pretty confusing…

P.S. Here’s a post about how to pronounce Chinese names.

Sources: China’s history is spelled out in baby names, Chinese name – Wikipedia