"Xiao Xiao" literally is the Chinese character for "small" repeated twice in Mandarin Chinese; here this reduplication connotes an affectionate diminutive – an equivalent might be the English expression "itty bitty" or "lil' old". Each Xiao Xiao cartoon is given a Chinese title with the adjective "Xiao Xiao" preceding a descriptive noun phrase. Xiao Xiao #1 was originally titled "Xiao Xiao Zuo Pin", which translates to "A Little Bit of Creative Work". Since then each Xiao Xiao cartoon has had a different noun succeeding "Xiao Xiao" – #4 is titled "Little Sheriff", and #7 is titled "Little Movie".
The term has gradually shifted meaning from the cartoons themselves to the main character, an anonymous black stick-figure – in this context it means something akin to "little fella", appropriate since in most perspectives Xiao Xiao and his fellow stick-people appear tiny and childlike, with disproportionately large heads and small limbs.