Chinese Domaining Masterclass Blog Series – The Number Three

Welcome back to our blog for the next Chinese Domaining Masterclass topic!

We hope you enjoyed the last article, which was all about the number seven. Before we dive into our next topic, which will remain analyzing individual numerics (for now!), let’s recap some important points from the last article:

  • Numerics in Chinese culture are used as symbols, puns, references, and units of innate meaning.
  • The complexity of numerics in Chinese result in each individual number having multiple sound-alikes for its corresponding nouns, adjectives, and verbs.
  • It’s important to pair numbers together that accurately represent the meaning of the numeric string, otherwise it will just be a garbled mess of numbers.

It’s important to keep these points in mind as you continue your journey of IDN investing, regardless of the number that’s being covered.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s introduce our next number!



3: 三, Pinyin: Sān


The number 3 in Chinese is considered “the limit,” “coming to the end of tolerance,” and “trying repeatedly” in old Chinese culture. This is due to an old saying, ““事不过三” (shì-bù-guò-sān), meaning “nothing should occur more than three times.” The English equivalent to this meaning would be “three strikes and you’re out.” Usually when people say this, they are giving you a warning, meaning “don’t make the same mistake again.” Also, 3 is traditionally a generic number which signifies a “small group.” There are many Chinese idioms that use the form “three people…” however, the idiom doesn’t necessarily mean exactly three people, it just means “more than one person.”

As mentioned before, the Mandarin word for three is “san.” The Cantonese word for three, is “sei.” The most common sound-alike for three is “a life.”

  • The verb sound-alikes for three is: to become, loose, adjourn.
  • The noun sound-alikes for three is: umbrella, mountain, clothes (Cantonese)
  • The adjective sound-alikes for three is: leisurely

As we discussed in last week’s article about the number seven, let’s go over some references, puns, and symbols that involve the number three.


3721: Derived from a Chinese folk saying “I don’t care if 3 multiplied by 7 makes 21,” meaning “I don’t care if this is good/ right/possible/intended, I’m doing it anyway.” 3721 was the first system used in China as a localization tool that resolved what looked like Chinese character URLs into real websites, and is now considered to be China’s most notorious malware.


384: The movie star Sebastian Stan is now commonly referred to by his fans on Sina Weibo as 384 (pronounced “san-ba-si”), because the number is a homophone to “Sebas…”: a lot faster to type and shorter to pronounce.

Unit of Innate Meaning

When Chinese people talk about the number 3, it can be understood in many different ways in various situations, rather than having just one universal meaning.

From a historical perspective, there are some famous books and old sayings that relate to the number 3:

  1. “When three people are walking along, one of them could be my teacher.” – Confucian Analects by Confucius. This old saying is often used by teachers and parents to educate the children that they should be humble and learn from others.
  2. One of the four most famous Chinese ancient long novels is the Romance of 3 Kingdoms, which introduces stories about wars and friendship between 3 kingdoms, 1800 years ago.
  3. As discussed previously in this article, the number three symbolizes “the limit” or “small group,” synonymous to “three strikes, and you’re out!”
  4. In Taoism, 3 stands for everything: Tao generates one, then one generates two, then two generates three. Finally, 3 generates everything in the universe.

In most cases, however, the number 3 may refer to some negative meanings in the modern day world:

  1. In Mandarin, 3 sounds like “San,” which means “breaking up,” or “divorce.” It can also mean a team that has disbanded.
  2. The word “Little 3,” in Mandarin, which sounds like “Xiao San,” stands for the mistress who ruined a relationship.

Remember! Keeping the following points in mind will help you as you pursue Chinese numeric domaining:

  • Numerics that make up puns in Chinese culture will be recognizable to Chinese netizens. The better the pun, the more valuable your numeric string will be. Keep this in mind with the number three!
  • The number three is fairly neutral, but can also have negative meanings as well, if you’re not careful. Make sure to correctly pair its meanings and sound-alikes with other numbers.
  • Utilize the number three with other numbers correctly. Remember the innate meaning of the number three, and make sure to pair it with other numbers that accurately represent the meaning of the numeric string, otherwise it will just be a garbled mess of numbers!

Now that you’ve got some handy information on the number three and the number seven, try coming up with some great numeric domains involving those numbers! Also, check out our list of FREE Chinese domain name suggestions on the front page of, and pick up some awesome numeric domains there as well!