Famous Company Name Origins


Who came up with the name eBay? How did Nintendo get its name?

Here is a sample of a list that I found on Wikipedia. You can find the full list of name etymologies here at Wikipedia. Note: because Wikipedia is an open source platform some of the origins are disputed.


Adobe Systems – from the Adobe Creek that ran behind the house of co-founder John Warnock.

BMW – Bayerische Motoren Werke (Bavarian Motor Works).

Nintendo – Nintendo is the transliteration of the company’s Japanese name, nintendou (任天堂). The first (nin) can be translated as to “entrusted”; ten-dou means “heaven”.

Volkswagen – from the German for people’s car.  Volvo – from the Latin word volvo, which means “I roll”.

Esso – the enunciation of the initials S.O. in Standard Oil of New Jersey.

FedEx – abbreviation of Federal Express Corporation, the company’s original name.

HMV – from “His Master’s Voice”, which appeared in 1899 as the title of a painting of Nipper, a Jack Russell terrier, listening to a gramophone

eBay – Pierre Omidyar, who had created the Auction Web trading website, had formed a web consulting concern called Echo Bay Technology Group. “Echo Bay” did not refer to the town in Nevada, “It just sounded cool”, Omidyar reportedly said. Echo Bay Mines Limited, a gold mining company, had already taken EchoBay.com, so Omidyar registered what (at the time) he thought was the second best name: eBay.com