In China, when people talk about price, “贵(guì)” is a word that you will often hear. The basic meaning of “贵(guì)” is “expensive,” and it has the antonym “便宜(piányi) cheap.”
Wǒ xiǎng mǎi yígè LV de bāo, dànshì tài guì le.
我 想 买 一个 LV 的 包， 但是 太 贵 了。
I want to buy a LV handbag, but it is too expensive.
Piányi méi hǎo huò, suóyǐ tā zǒngshì mǎi hěn guì de dōngxi.
便宜 没 好 货， 所以 她 总是 买 很 贵 的 东西。
Cheap things are not good. So she always buys expensive things.
When you attend a business meeting, make reservations at a restaurant or attend some other formal occasions, you will probably hear such phrases as “贵姓(guìxìng),” “贵公司(guìgōngsī),” etc. Isn’t it a bit confusing? How can a person’s surname or a company be expensive?
In fact, people on such occasions are using the extended meaning of “贵(guì).” Instead of meaning expensive, “贵(guì)” here is an honorific term, a prefix for people or things used to show courtesy and respect.
“姓(xìng)” means surname, and “贵(guì)” can be used before “姓(xìng)” as a respectful way to ask someone’s surname. Usually, people use this expression on formal occasions, such as in a business meeting, or receptions to show respect and politeness. To respond to this question, we usually say: “免贵姓……(Miǎnguì xìng…).”
Wáng Xuě: Qǐng wèn nín guìxìng?
王 雪： 请 问 您 贵姓？
Wang Xue: May I know your surname?
Lǐ Lěi: Miǎnguì xìng Lǐ.
李 磊：免贵 姓 李。
Li Lei: My surname is Li.
“子(zǐ)” means child. “贵子(guìzǐ)” refers to a special or bright child who is predicted to be successful when he grows up. For this reason, “贵子(guìzǐ)” has come to be used as a respectful way to refer to other people’s children. Chinese people usually use “贵子(guìzǐ)” when they wish for a newly married couple to have their first baby. For example, “早生贵子！(Zǎo shēng guìzǐ!) Hope you will have your baby soon! The term is also used as a way to express your wishes for people when they have a newborn baby, as in “喜得贵子！(Xǐ dé guìzǐ!) Congratulations on your newborn baby!”
Zhù nǐ zǎo shēng guìzǐ!
祝 你 早 生 贵子！
Hope you will have your baby soon!
Gōngxǐ Wáng xiānsheng xǐ dé guìzǐ!
恭喜 王 先生 喜 得 贵子！
Congratulations to Mr. Wang and his newborn baby!
贵国/ 贵公司/ 贵校
Your country/Your company/Your school
“贵(guì)” is often used before “国(guó) country,” “公司(gōngsī) company,” “校(xiào) school” or other institutions to express esteem and respect. This usage of “贵(guì)” is often applied in written language, such as in letters, contracts, etc. Also on some formal occasions, such as in an opening ceremony or a business convention, people tend to say “贵公司(guìgōnɡsī),” “贵校(guìxiào)” instead of “你们公司(nǐmen gōngsī),” “你们学校(nǐmen xuéxiào).”
Qǐngwèn guì gōngsī de zǒngbù zài nǎ lǐ?
请问 贵 公司 的 总部 在 哪 里？
Where is the headquarter of your company?
1. Li Lei is reserving a table at a restaurant. What is the receptionist likely to say?
Lǐ Lěi: 免贵姓李。(Miǎnguì xìng Lǐ.)
A. 您贵姓？ (Nín guìxìng?)
B. 您叫什么名字？(Nín jiào shénme míngzi?)
C. 您是谁？ (Nín shì shéi?)
2. In which of the following situations will John probably say: “早生贵子(Zǎo shēng guìzǐ)?”
A. John is at his friend’s birthday party.
B. John is attending his cousin’s wedding ceremony.
C. John is at his wedding ceremony.