Ambrose Li

Can we stop using the term wuxia?

Can we stop using the term wuxia?

Pretty please?

It is one of the words I hate the most. Every time I see it, I’d have to spend several minutes figuring it out: this is clearly a Chinese word, but what is it?

Is it wuxia (ˏŋˍha 五夏), ‘five summers’? Or is it wuxia (ˏŋˉhak 五嚇), ‘five scares’? Maybe wuxia (ˌmouˍha 無下), ‘the worst’? No no no, these don’t make sense.

Only after several minutes I’d finally remember, oh okay, it’s wuxia (ˏmouˍhɐp 武俠), ‘valiance, gallantry’.‍[Note 1]

Can we just stop loaning words from Mandarin? Too many homonyms. Too unfriendly to people who don’t speak it. I know English is now privileging Mandarin, but can we just stop it? I’d rather we borrowed from Japanese and wrote it as bukyō.‍[Note 2]


  1. Cf. goo 辞書 [goo Dictionary], s.v. “武侠” [bukyō], accessed February 23, 2021, https://​dictionary​.goo​.ne​.jp/​word/​%E6%AD%A6​%E4%BE%A0/​.
  2. After all, kishōtenketsu, a very Chinese rhetorical structure, is referred to by its Japanese pronunciation, not by its Mandarin pronunciation qĭchéngzhuănjié.


  • #peeves