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Furthermore, is there a sensible way to combine either of the above with 龍 or 竜 to form a plausible given name (one that a native speaker would not find out of place) with a meaning akin to "dragon of the five elements" or "five elemental dragons"?

Edit: The given name would be for a (male) person.

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  • To help with your second question, could you provide additional characteristics besides being elemental? Example: strong, evil, big, fat, ugly, etc. Is it one Dragon attributed with five elements, one Dragon with five heads, or five individual Dragons? And which part of the world does the Dragon come from?
    – dungarian
    Jun 1 at 12:06
  • @dungarian --- It would be either one dragon with connection to the five elements or five dragons each connected to one element (obviously a different meaning, but both would fulfill the basic idea). The dragon would be eastern ones (serpentine) and would not have particular characteristics other than what directly derives from them being dragons (powerful, flying, mighty, divine) and being connected to one elements (or five).
    – Doc
    Jun 1 at 12:14

1 Answer 1

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五大

sounds big, or great (as in size, mass, volume, etc). The Five Great Lakes would be 五大湖.

五行

We might want to describe five basic/important things, without emphasizing its "big"-ness. We don't say "Five Big Principles of Islam", but instead Five Pillars of Islam - イスラム(の)五行. 行 is a brilliant choice here, because the Kanji also expresses activities/practices. Yes, the Muslims indeed practice the five pillars as activities.

Others

There are other variations, such as Five Colors - 五色. The Dragons don't need to be colorful. The five attributes are simply expressed as colors like how the Buddhists assign colors to each of their five spiritual states.


Names

Assumptions

  • Serpentines can fly - I didn't think so, but it's probably my ignorance. This may be better handled by our friends over at Myth & Folk SE

  • Five elements point to this oriental version

  • The Serpentines are from Eastern Asia - the Japanese tend to name Dragons with attributes, which is like naming your child "human with big eyes". I think that's pretty cruel compared to India, where the Dragons are often given unique "names". We'll use the Japanese naming convention for your Dragon(s)

  • The naming should work for both cases:

one dragon with connection to the five elements or five dragons each connected to one element

五行を司る龍 (Dragon(s) Associated/Governing the Five Elements)

We're being verbose and trying to sounding modern. Conservatives will complain about "feeling strange" or "sounds like a joke", which tends to attract down votes. Ignore this unless you know what you're doing.

五行の龍 (Dragon(s) of the Five Elements)

This is less modern, but sounds humble. Variants would be:

  • 五行之龍 Sounds less modern, starting to look ancient
  • 五行ノ龍 Sounds less modern, but also cheesy

五行龍

Old school and simple.

五大龍

Sounds like "Great Dragon of Five" or "Five Major Dragon(s)" and less affiliated with the "Elements", but would work.

Additional Characteristics?

See how this could help, looking at actual Japanese examples:

  • 五頭竜大神 - number (5) + head + dragon + great + divine
  • 八大竜王 - number (8) + great + dragon + king

In your case:

  • 五行天龍 - number + element + heaven + dragon
  • 五行神龍 - number + element + divine + dragon
  • 五行龍神 - number + element + dragon + divine

Bonus - 伍

Use 伍 to feel more ancient and antique

Bonus - 龍 and 竜

Some say one is divine and the other is evil, or one is Eastern and the other is Western. There are always exceptions, so I'd advise you to not worry too much, just pick one you like.

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  • Thank you for the detailed answer. On 五大 and 五行, i found references as both being an actual word to refer to the five elements (in the Chinese and/or Japanese interpretation, similar to the one you linked), so I was wondering if there was any difference between the two terms in the "full" meaning of the word rather then in the individual kanji. The name request, would not be the name for the dragons themselves, but rather a person first name bestowed in reference to said dragons as good fortune.
    – Doc
    Jun 1 at 13:42
  • Haha, didn't see that edit coming! In my experience, the concept of elements I linked are always 五行, and never 五大. I have seen both 龍 and 竜 included in many names. I might've actually seen 竜行 in a Japanese name.
    – dungarian
    Jun 1 at 14:03

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