early; prior; former
early; prior; former; in advance; first
to be born; to give birth; life
to be born; to give birth; life; to grow; student; raw
|simp. and trad.
|Literally: “one who was born earlier”.|
- An honorific for adults, usually conferred on males: mister; sir; gentleman
- 王先生來了。／王先生来了。 [Taiwanese Mandarin] ― Wáng xiānshēng lái le. [Pinyin] ― Mr. Wang has come.
- 王先生來矣。／王先生来矣。 [Hokkien] ― Ông--sian-seⁿ lâi--ah. [Pe̍h-ōe-jī] ― Mr. Ong has come.
- (literal, Classical Chinese) one who was born earlier
- 誕彌厥月，先生如達。 [Pre-Classical Chinese, trad.]
- From: The Classic of Poetry, c. 11th – 7th centuries BCE, translated based on James Legge's version
- Dàn mí jué yuè, xiānshēng rú dá. [Pinyin]
- When she had fulfilled her months,
Her first-born son [came forth] like a lamb.
诞弥厥月，先生如达。 [Pre-Classical Chinese, simp.]
- (literary) father and elder brother
- (literary) ancestor
- (literary) Taoist priest
- (Gan, Hakka, Min, dated in Mandarin and Jin) doctor
- (honorific in Mandarin, Jin; common in Cantonese, Gan, Hakka, Min) teacher
- 他在學堂的時候，先生問他：「直隸省的西邊是哪一省？」他說是陝西。先生說：「錯了，是山西，不是陝西。」他說：「陝西同山西，不是差不多嗎？」 [MSC, trad.]
- From: 1924, Hu Shih, Life of Mr. Close Enough
- Tā zài xuétáng de shíhòu, xiānshēng wèn tā: “Zhílì Shěng de xībiān shì nǎ yī shěng?” Tā shuō shì Shǎnxī. Xiānshēng shuō: “Cuò le, shì Shānxī, bùshì Shǎnxī.” Tā shuō: “Shǎnxī tóng Shānxī, bùshì chābùduō ma?” [Pinyin]
- When he went to school, the teacher asked him: "Which province is west of Zhili Province?" He answered Shaanxi. The teacher said: "Wrong, it is Shanxi, not Shaanxi." He said: "Would Shaanxi and Shanxi not be close enough?"
他在学堂的时候，先生问他：“直隶省的西边是哪一省？”他说是陕西。先生说：“错了，是山西，不是陕西。”他说：“陕西同山西，不是差不多吗？” [MSC, simp.]
- (obsolete or Wu) female prostitute
- (Singapore Hokkien) traditional Chinese physician
Some females are also referred with the term 先生, however, this term is reserved for highly respected ones only, e.g. Soong Ching-ling, He Xiangning and Yang Jiang. For most instances 女士 (nǚshì, “Ms.”) is used. Whether this term can be used for females is still a topic being debated among scholars.
- (Taoist priest):
- (female prostitute):
- → English: sinseh (via Hokkien)
- → Indonesian: sinse (via Hokkien)
- → Thai: ซินแส (sin-sɛ̌ɛ), จีนแส (jiin-sɛ̌ɛ) (via Teochew)
- (Min Nan) “Entry #2069”, in 臺灣閩南語常用詞辭典 [Dictionary of Frequently-Used Taiwan Minnan] (in Chinese and Min Nan), Ministry of Education, R.O.C., 2023.
|Kanji in this term|
- an elder
- a scholar
- a teacher or a professor
- 1984 February 20 [1983 June 15], Motoka Murakami, “多感な季節の巻”, in 六三四の剣, 4th edition, volume 10 (fiction), Tokyo: Shogakukan, →ISBN, pages 161–162:
- Gakkō no minna mo Sensei no koto sa suiteru…… Katcha suki ka⁉
- Everybody at school likes Sensei…… Ya like him, Ma⁉
- Mochiron suki yo‼ Honto ni ii sensei desu mono…
- Of course‼ He’s a very good teacher…
- Ora mo suki dā. N demo, Sensei wa Sensei dā… Ora no totcha ni wa narenē!
- Ah like him, too. But Sensei’s only Sensei… He could never be mah pa!
- E…⁉ Sore… hyotto shite, watakushi to Yaegashi Sensei ga kekkon surutte koto……⁉
- What…⁉ Wait… You think I’m gonna marry Yaegashi Sensei……⁉
- sensei (Japanese martial arts teacher)
- sir, a polite form of address to teachers, doctors, etc.
- This is a term of respect, reserved only for speaking about others, and considered somewhat impolite (immodest) to use when referring to oneself. Instead, the term 教師 (kyōshi, “teacher”, literally “teaching + teacher”) is considered more socially appropriate when referring to oneself.
- This is an example of a word that can be spelled with katakana to convey an informal conversational tone, as センセー.
- 大先生 (daisensei): great teacher, high authority
- 師匠 (shishō): a master, a teacher
- 医師 (ishi): a medical doctor
- 教師 (kyōshi): a teacher
- 教授 (kyōju): a professor
- 弁護士 (bengoshi): an attorney, a lawyer
|Kanji in this term|
- 2002, Ineko Kondō; Fumi Takano; Mary E Althaus; et. al., Shogakukan Progressive Japanese-English Dictionary, Third Edition, Tokyo: Shōgakukan, →ISBN.
|Hanja in this term|
|Kanji in this term|
|chữ Hán Nôm in this term|