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Origin of Greatest Brand Names

company name etymologies



  • 19 Entertainment – Talent company founded by Simon Fuller and "named after Paul Hardcastle's single 19, the first No. 1 Fuller had a hand in", according to TV Guide. After selling 19 Entertainment to CKX, Inc, Fuller founded XIX Entertainment, which is 19 in Roman numerals.
  • 20th Century Fox – Film studio; formed in 1935 through the merger of William Fox's Fox Film, and Twentieth Century Pictures.
  • 23andme – Using the 23 pairs of chromosomes that make up each person's genome, the company helps individuals make sense of their own genome.
  • 27b/6 – The apartment where George Orwell wrote the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four was number 27B on level 6.
  • 37signals – Web development company; named for the 37 radiotelescope signals identified by astronomer Paul Horowitz as potential messages from extraterrestrial intelligence.[5]
  • 3Com – Network technology producer; the three coms are computercommunication, andcompatibility.[6]
  • 3M – from the company's original name, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company.[7]
  • 7-Eleven – Convenience stores; renamed from "U-Tote'm" in 1946 to reflect their newly extended hours, 7:00 am until 11:00 pm[8]

[edit]A

  • A&M Records – named after founders Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss[9]
  • A&P – from Atlantic & Pacific in Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, a U.S.-based supermarket chain.
  • A&W Root Beer – named after founders Roy Allen and Frank Wright[10]
  • ABN AMRO – in the 1960s, the Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij (Dutch Trading Society; 1824) and De Twentsche Bank merged to form the Algemene Bank Nederland (ABN; General Bank of the Netherlands); in 1966, the Amsterdamsche Bank and the Rotterdamsche Bank merged to form the Amro Bank; in 1991, ABN and Amro Bank merged to form ABN AMRO.
  • Accenture – from "Accent on the future". The name Accenture was proposed by a company employee in Norway as part of an internal name finding process (BrandStorming). Before 1 January 2001, the company was called Andersen Consulting.[11]
  • Acer – Born as Multitech International in 1976, the company changed its name to Acer in 1987. The Latin word for “sharp, acute, able and facile”
  • Adecco – named from the merger of Swiss staffing company Adia with French staffing companyEcco.[12]
  • Adidas – from the name of the founder Adolf (AdiDassler.[13]
  • Adobe Systems – from the Adobe Creek that ran behind the house of co-founder John Warnock.[14]
  • Aflac – initialism for the company's previous name of American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus (which remains the legal name of Aflac's underwriting subsidiary).
  • Ahold – a holding company of Albert Heijn and other supermarkets. For its 100th anniversary in 1987, Ahold was granted the title of Koninklijke ("Royal" in Dutch) by the Monarchy of the Netherlands, changing its name to Koninklijke Ahold (Royal Ahold).[15]
  • Ahlstrom – named after founder Antti Ahlström
  • Akai – named for its founder, Masukichi Akai.[16]
  • Akamai – from the Hawaiian word akamai meaning smart or clever;[17] the company defines it as "intelligent, clever and cool".[18]
  • AKZO – named from the 1969 merger of Algemene Kunstzijde Unie (AKU) and Koninklijke Zout Organon (KZO).[19]
  • AKG Acoustics – from the company’s original name, Akustische und Kino-Geräte (Acoustic and Cinema Equipment)
  • Alcatel-Lucent – Alcatel was named from Société Alsacienne de Constructions Atomiques, deTélécomunications et d'Electronique.[20] It took over Lucent Technologies in 2006.
  • Alcoa – Aluminum Company of America.[21]
  • Aldi – portmanteau for Albrecht (name of the founders) and discount
  • Alfa Romeo – the company was originally known as ALFA, an acronym for Anonima LombardaFabbrica Automobili. When Nicola Romeo bought ALFA in 1915, his surname was appended.
  • Alps Electric/Alpine Electronics - Katsutaro Kataoka founded Kataoka Electronics in a suburb of Tokyo in 1947. A subsidiary was established in the province of Tohoku, also known as the Tohoku Alps as Tohoku Alps Co. Ltd. When Kataoka was seeking investment in his company during the 1960s, he found that foreigners had difficulty pronouncing "Kataoka," and renamed his firm as Alps Electric. Alpine Electronics was originally named Alps-Motorola as a joint venture in the Japanese car audio market and the Alpine name was adopted after Motorola divested their stake in 1978.
  • Alstom – set up as Alsthom in 1928 by Société Alsacienne de Constructions Mécaniques and Compagnie Française Thomson-Houston, it changed the spelling to Alstom in 1997.
  • AltaVista – Spanish for "high view".
  • ALZA – from the name of the founder Alex Zaffaroni.
  • Amazon.com – founder Jeff Bezos renamed the company Amazon (from the earlier name of Cadabra.com) after the world's most voluminous river, the Amazon. He saw the potential for a larger volume of sales in an online (as opposed to a bricks and mortar) bookstore. (Alternative: Amazon was chosen to cash in on the popularity of Yahoo, which listed entries alphabetically.)
  • AmBev – American Beverage Company, the largest Brazilian beverage company and fourth in the world. In 2004 it merged with Interbrew to create Inbev, which in turn purchased Anheuser-Busch in 2008 to form Anheuser-Busch InBev.
  • AMC Theatres – American Multi-Cinema: the company pioneered multi-screen cinemas.[22]
  • AMD – Advanced Micro Devices
  • AMKOR – AMericanKORea[23]
  • Amiga Corporation – The original developers of the 16-bit Amiga computer chose the name, which means a 'female friend' in Spanish and Portuguese, because it sounded friendly, and because it came before rivals (Apple Inc. and Atari) alphabetically.[24]
  • Amoco – AMerican Oil COmpany – now part of BP
  • Amstrad – Amstrad Consumer Electronics plc was founded by Lord Alan Michael Sugar in the UK. The name is a contraction of Alan Michael Sugar Trading.
  • Anheuser-Busch InBev – Formed by the 2008 purchase of Anheuser-Busch by InBev. Anheuser-Busch was named for the company's original founder, Eberhard Anheuser, and his later partner Adolphus Busch.
  • Antrix Corporation Limited — The business and marketing arm of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). The name "Antrix" is an anglicized version of Antariksh, from the Sanskrit word for "space" or "sky".
  • AOL – from America Online. The company was founded in 1983 as Quantum Computer Services.
  • Apache – according to the project's 1997 FAQ: "The Apache group was formed around a number of people who provided patch files that had been written for NCSA httpd 1.3. The result after combining them was A PAtCHy server."[25]
  • Apple – For the favorite fruit of co-founder Steve Jobs and/or for the time he worked at an apple orchard, and to distance itself from the cold, unapproachable, complicated imagery created by other computer companies at the time – which had names such as IBMDEC, and Cincom
  • Apricot Computers – early UK-based microcomputer company founded by ACT (Applied Computer Techniques), a business software and services supplier. The company wanted a "fruity" name (Apple and Acorn were popular brands) that included the letters A, C and T. Apricot fit the bill.
  • Arby's – the enunciation of the initials of its founders, the Raffel Brothers. The partners wanted to use the name Big Tex, but were unsuccessful in negotiating with the Akron businessman who was already using the name. So, Forrest said, "We came up with Arby's, which stands for R.B., the initials of Raffel Brothers, although I guess customers might think the initials stand for roast beef."
  • Arcelor – created in 2001 by a merger of Arbed (Luxembourg), Aceralia (Spain) and Usinor (France) with the ambition of becoming a major player in the steel industry.
  • AREVA – named from the region of Ávila in northern Spain, location of the Arevalo abbey. Arevalo was shorted to AREVA.
  • Aricent – communications software company name created in 2006 by combining two words "arise" and "ascent".
  • ARM Limited – named after the microprocessor developed by small UK company Acorn as a successor to the 6502 used in its BBC Microcomputer. ARM originally stood for Acorn Risc Machine. When the company was spun off with backing from Apple and VTI, this was changed to Advanced Risc Machines.
  • Arm & Hammer – based on the arm and hammer of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and metalworking. It was previously the logo of the Vulcan Spice Mills in Brooklyn. When James Church, the son of Church & Dwight founder Austin Church, came to Church and Dwight from Vulcan Spice Mills, he brought the logo with him.[26]
  • ARP – company that made analog synthesizers in the 1970s, named after founder Alan RobertPearlman.
  • Artis (zoo in Amsterdam) – from the Latin phrase, Natura Artis Magistra, or Nature is Art's Teacher
  • Asda – Asda Stores Limited was founded as Associated Dairies & Farm Stores Ltd in 1949. However the formation of the Asda name occurred in 1965 with the merger of the Asquith chain of three supermarkets and Associated Dairies; Asda is an abbreviation of Asquith and Dairies, a large UK supermarket chain that is now a subsidiary of Wal-Mart.
  • ASICS – an acronym for Anima Sana ICorpore Sano, which, translated from Latin, means "Healthy soul in a healthy body". Originally the citation is mens sana in corpore sano, but MSICS does not sound as good.
  • Ask.com – search engine formerly named after Jeeves, the gentleman's gentleman (valetnot butler) inP. G. Wodehouse's series of books. Ask Jeeves was shortened to Ask in 2006.
  • Asus – named after Pegasus, the winged horse of Greek mythology. The first three letters of the word were dropped to get a high position in alphabetical listings. An Asus company named Pegatron, using the spare letters, was spun off in 2008.[27]
  • Aston Martin – from the "Aston Hill" races (near Aston Clinton) where the company was founded, and the surname of Lionel Martin, the company's founder.
  • AT&T – the American Telephone and Telegraph Corporation officially changed its name to AT&T in the 1990s.
  • Atari – named from the board game Go. "Atari" is a Japanese word to describe a position where an opponent's stones are in danger of being captured. It is similar, though not identical, to "check" in chess. The original games company was American but wanted a Japanese-sounding name.
  • ATI – Array Technologies Incorporated
  • ATS – Auto Technik Spezialerzeugnisse, a German company producing light alloy wheels and motor parts, which ran its own Formula 1 racing team in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
  • Audi – Latin translation of the German name "Horch". The founder August Horch left the company after five years, but still wanted to manufacture cars. Since the original "Horch" company was still there, he called his new company Audi, the Latin form of his last name. In English it is "hark".

[edit]B

  • B&H Photo Video – named after Blimie Schreiber and her husband, company founder Herman Schreiber.
  • B&Q – from the initials of its founders, Richard Block and David Quayle
  • Babolat – named for its founder, Pierre Babolat
  • Bahco – from the name B.A. Hjort & Company. Founder Berndt August Hjort signed a deal to distribute the tools of inventor Johan Petter Johansson.
  • Bang & Olufsen – from the names of its founders, Peter Bang and Svend Olufsen, who met at a School of Engineering in Denmark.
  • Bally – originally Lion Manufacturing, the company changed its name to Bally after the success of its first popular pinball machine, Ballyhoo.
  • Banesto – from Banco Español de Crédito (Spanish Credit Bank)
  • BAPE – A Bathing Ape is a cult clothing company founded by Tomoaki "Nigo" Nagao in 1993.[28] The name is derived from a Japanese saying, "A Bathing Ape In Lukewarm Water", which Nigo says is "a reference to the young generation being spoiled, pampered and too complacent."[29]
  • BASF – from Badische Anilin und Soda Fabriken. Anilin and Soda were the first products. Badischrefers to the location in the state of Baden, Germany (Black Forest region).
  • Bauknecht – founded as an electrotechnical workshop in 1919 by Gottlob Bauknecht, and now aWhirlpool brand.
  • Bayer – named after Friedrich Bayer, who founded the company in 1863.
  • BBC – British Broadcasting Corporation, originally British Broadcasting Company.
  • BBVA – Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, a Spanish banking group formed in 1999 from the merger of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya and Argentaria.
  • BCC Research – from the company's former name, Business Communications Company.
  • BEA Systems – from the first initial of each of the company's three founders: Bill Coleman, Ed Scott and Alfred Chuang.
  • BEML – Bharat Earth Movers Limited, a government of India company.
  • Ben & Jerry's – named after Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, who founded an ice cream parlor in 1978 after completing a correspondence course on ice cream making from Pennsylvania State University. The company, Ben & Jerry's Homemade Holdings, Inc. was later taken over by Unilever.
  • BenQ – Bringing Enjoyment and Quality to life[30]
  • BHP – Broken Hill Proprietary, named after the town of Broken Hill, where BHP was founded (now BHP Billiton)
  • BIC Corporation – the pen company was named after one of its founders, Marcel Bich. He dropped the final h to avoid a potentially inappropriate English pronunciation of the name.
  • Black & Decker – named after founders S. Duncan Black and Alonzo G. Decker.
  • Blaupunkt – Blaupunkt ("Blue dot") was founded in 1923 under the name "Ideal". Its core business was the manufacturing of headphones. If the headphones came through quality tests, the company would give the headphones a blue dot. The headphones quickly became known as the blue dots or blaue Punkte. The quality symbol would become a trademark and the trademark would become the company name in 1938.
  • BMW – Bayerische Motoren Werke (Bavarian Motor Works).
  • Bo-Dyn Bobsled – Geoff Bodine and Chassis Dynamics, the bobsled maker that the NASCAR driver teamed with. The company name is pronounced the same as that of Bodine himself—IPA: /boʊ'daɪn/.
  • Boeing – named after founder William E. Boeing. It was originally called Pacific Aero Products Co.
  • Bosch – named after founder Robert Bosch. Robert Bosch GmbH (full company name) is a German diversified technology-based corporation.
  • Bose Corporation – named after founder Amar Bose.
  • BSNL – from Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (India Communications Corporation Limited).
  • BP – formerly British Petroleum, now BP. (The slogan "Beyond Petroleum" has incorrectly been taken to refer to the company's new name following its rebranding effort in 2000.)
  • BRAC – Bangladesh Rural & Advancement Committee, world's largest NGO (non governmental organization).
  • Bridgestone – named after founder Shojiro Ishibashi. The surname Ishibashi (石橋) means "stone bridge", or "bridge of stone".
  • Brine, Corp. – sporting goods company named after founder, W.H. Brine. It was taken over by New Balance in 2006.
  • Brooks Sports – an anglicized version of Bruchs, the maiden name of the wife of founder Morris Goldenberg.
  • BSA – Birmingham Small Arms Company.
  • BT – formerly British Telecom (from BT Group, formerly British Telecommunications plc.)
  • Buick – Named for its founder, David Dunbar Buick. The company was the original focal point forGeneral Motors, established in 1908 as a holding company for Buick plus other companies acquired by William C. Durant. Buick survives to this day as a GM brand.
  • Bull – Compagnie des machines Bull was founded in Paris to exploit the patents for punched card machines taken out by Norwegian engineer Fredrik Rosing Bull.
  • Burroughs Corporation – founded in 1886 as the American Arithmometer Company and later renamed after the adding machine invented by William Seward Burroughs. The company took overSperry Corporation and became Unisys.
  • Bultaco – Spanish company of motorcycles, which disappeared in the 1980s. Its name is based on the name of its founder, Paco Bultó.
  • BHEL – Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, a government of India company.

[edit]C

  • CA – Computer Associates was founded in 1976 as Computer Associates International, Inc. byCharles Wang
  • C&A – named after the brothers Clemens and August Brenninkmeijer, who founded a textile company called C&A in the Netherlands in 1841.
  • Cadillac – named after the 18th century French explorer Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, founder of Detroit, Michigan. Cadillac is a small town in the South of France. The company, founded in 1902, was purchased by General Motors in 1909 and survives to this day as a GM brand.
  • CAE – originally Canadian Aviation Electronics
  • Campagnolo – from the name of its founder, Tullio Campagnolo.
  • Canon – Originally (1933) Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory the new name (1935) derived from the name of the company's first camera, the Kwanon, in turn named after the Japanese name of the Buddhist bodhisattva of mercy.
  • Capcom - Capsule Computers
  • Caprabo – Catalan supermarkets, founded by Pere Carbó, Jaume Prats and Josep Bonet.
  • Carrefour – chain of supermarkets and hypermarkets which started with a store near a crossroads (carrefour in French) in Annecy.
  • Caterpillar – Originally Holt Tractor Co, merged with Best Tractor Co. in 1925. A company photographer exclaimed aloud of a Holt tractor that the tracks' movement resembled a caterpillar moving along the ground. The name stuck.
  • Cathay Pacific Airways Limited – The airline was founded on 24 September 1946 by American Roy C. Farrell and Australian Sydney H. de Kantzow, with each man putting up HK$1 to register the airline. They named it Cathay Pacific because Cathay was the ancient name given to China; and Pacific because Farrell speculated that they would one day fly across the Pacific.
  • Casio – from the name of its founder, Kashio Tadao, who had set up the company Kashio Seisakujo as a subcontractor factory.
  • CBS – Columbia Broadcasting System
  • CDAC – Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, a government of India company.
  • Celera – inspired by ‘celerity’ or swiftness (in decoding the human genome), with "era of the cell" a secondary meaning.[31]
  • Cemex – portmanteau of the company's former name of Cementos Mexicanos (Spanish for "Mexican Cement").
  • Cenex – short for Central Exchange
  • CGI Group – from the first letters of Information Management Consultant in French (Conseillers enGestion et Informatique).
  • Chevrolet – named after company co-founder Louis Chevrolet, a Swiss-born auto racer. The company was merged into General Motors in 1917 and survives only as a brand name.
  • Chello – a Dutch internet service provider, its name was originally pronounced 'say hello' (in Dutch the letter C at the beginning of a word is pronounced 'say'). This did not catch on and now it is pronounced "cello" (as in the stringed instrument).
  • Chrysler – named after the company founder, Walter P. Chrysler.
  • Ciba Geigy – CIBA, named from Chemical Industry Basel (after Basel in Switzerland), merged with a company named after its founder Johann Rudolf Geigy-Merian. It became Novartis (below) after a merger with Sandoz.
  • CiCi's Pizza – from the first letters of the last names of the founders of the franchise (Joe Croce and Mike Cole).
  • Cigna – CIGNA was formed in 1982 through the combination of Insurance Company of North America (INA) and Connecticut General (CG). The name is combination of the letters of the predecessor companies, CG and INA.[32]
  • Cincom – originally called United Computer Systems, which was similar to several other software and services companies of the day. Two of the three founders visited Philco (Philadelphia Company), and this inspired them to create a new company name derived from Cincinnati (where it was based) andComputer (its business).
  • Cisco – short for San Francisco.
  • Citroën – named after André-Gustave Citroën (1878–1935), a French entrepreneur of Dutch descent. He was the fifth and last child of the Dutch Jewish diamond merchant Levie Citroen and Mazra Kleinmann (of Warsaw, Poland). The Citroen family moved to Paris from Amsterdam in 1873 where the name changed to Citroën.
  • CKX, Inc. – named from "Content is King", with the X from founder Robert F.X. Sillerman.[33] Other Sillerman companies include SFX Entertainment and FXM Asset Management.
  • Clarion – named after the "bugle-like wind instrument used in ancient Greece," says the company, [34]which wanted a name English speakers would find easy to remember. It was founded in Japan in 1940 as Hakusan Wireless Electric Company, making radios, and became Teikoku Dempa after merging with Takizawa Wireless Electric Industries in 1943.[35]
  • Coca-Cola – derived from the coca leaves and kola nuts used as flavoring. Coca-Cola creator John S. Pemberton changed the 'K' of kola to 'C' to make the name look better.
  • Coleco – began as the Connecticut Leather Company.
  • Colgate-Palmolive – formed from a merger of soap manufacturers Colgate & Company and Palmolive-Peet. Peet was dropped in 1953. Colgate was named after William Colgate, an English immigrant, who set up a starch, soap and candle business in New York City in 1806. Palmolive was named for the two oils (Palm and Olive) used in its manufacture.
  • COLT – from City OLondon Telecom
  • Comcast – from communications and broadcast.
  • Compaq – from computer and "pack" to denote a small integral object; or: Compatibility And Quality; or: from the company's first product, the very compact Compaq Portable.
  • COMSAT – a contraction of communications satellites. This American digital telecommunications and satellite company was founded during the era of U.S. President John F. Kennedy era to develop the technology.
  • ConocoPhillips – formed from the merger of Conoco (from Continental Oil Company) and the Phillips Petroleum Company.
  • Copersucar – Brazilian production cooperative in sugar and alcohol, its name is a contraction of Cooperativa de Açucar e Álcool.
  • Corel – from Cowpland Research Laboratory, after the name of the company's founder, Dr. Michael Cowpland.[36]
  • Cosworth – automotive engineering company named after company founders Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth.
  • CPFL – Companhia Paulista de Força e Luz (São Paulo Company of Light and Power), one of the largest in Brazil, based in Campinas.
  • Crabtree & Evelyn – toiletry company named after gardener John Evelyn, and the tree that bearsCrabapples
  • Cray – supercomputer company named after its founder, Seymour Cray.
  • CRC Press – originally Chemical Rubber Company
  • Cromemco – early microcomputer company in Silicon Valley (circa 1975–198?) founded by two PhD students who once lived at Stanford University's Crothers Memorial Hall (a dormitory).
  • Cutco – Cooking Utensils Company.[37]
  • CVS – originally Consumer Value Stores. CEO Tom Ryan has said he now considers 'CVS' to stand for "Customer, Value, and Service".

[edit]D

  • Daewoo – company founder Kim Woo Chong called it Daewoo which means "Great House" or "Great Universe" in Korean.
  • DAF Trucks – from 1932 the company's name was Van Doorne's Aanhangwagen Fabriek (Van Doorne's Trailer Factory). In 1949 the company started making trucks, trailers and buses and changed the name into Van Doorne's Automobiel Fabriek (Van Doorne's Automobile Factory).
  • Daihatsu – the first kanji from "Osaka" (大坂, the kanji is here pronounced dai) and "engine" (発動機, the first kanji is hatsu). Engine manufacturers were listed on the Tokyo and Osaka Stock Exchanges, and their names shortened to the first kanji. (The company listed on the Tokyo exchange is Tohatsu.)
  • Danone (Dannon in the U.S.) – Isaac Carasso in Barcelona made his first yogurts with the nickname of his first son Daniel (DAN-ONE)
  • Datsun – first called DAT, from the initials of its financiers Den, Aoyama and Takeuchi. Soon changed to DATSON to imply a smaller version of their original car, then (as SON can mean "loss" in Japanese) again to DATSUN when they were acquired by Nissan.
  • Debian – project founder Ian Murdock named it after himself and his girlfriend, Debra.
  • DEC – Digital Equipment Corporation, a pioneering American minicomputer manufacturer founded byKen Olsen and taken over by Compaq, before Compaq was merged into Hewlett-Packard (HP). It was generally called DEC ("deck"), but later tried to rebrand itself as Digital.
  • DEKA – named after its founder Dean Kamen, developer of the Segway, iBOT, HomeChoice Dialysis and other products.
  • Delhaize – named after its founders, Jules Delhaize and his brothers, who originated from Charleroi (Belgium). They opened the first European self-service "supermarket" in Ixelles/Elsene, a Brussels borough.
  • Dell – named after its founder, Michael Dell. The company changed its name from Dell Computer in 2003.
  • Denning & Fourcade, Inc. – interior designer company named after its founders Robert Denning andVincent Fourcade in 1960.
  • DHL – named after its founders, Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom, and Robert Lynn.
  • Dick's Sporting Goods – named after its founder, Dick Stack, who opened a bait and tackle shop in 1948 with a $300 gift from his grandmother.[38]
  • Digg, Inc.- Kevin Rose's friend David Prager (The Screen Savers, This Week in Tech) originally wanted to call the site "Diggnation", but Kevin wanted a simpler name. He chose the name "Digg", because users are able to "dig" stories, out of those submitted, up to the front page. The site was called "Digg" instead of "Dig" because the domain name "dig.com" was previously registered, by Walt Disney Internet Group. "Diggnation" would eventually be used as the title of Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht's weekly podcast discussing popular stories from Digg.
  • Digi-Key – electronic component distributor whose name is derived from founder Dr. Ronald Stordahl's amateur radio telegraphic keyer, the "IC Keyer Kit", which utilized digital integrated circuits.
  • The Walt Disney Company, named for its co-founder Walt Disney.
  • Dixons – commonly used abbreviation for DSG International plc (Dixons Stores Group), a UK-based retailer. The company was founded in 1937 by Charles Kalms and Michael Mindel. When opening their first photographic shop in Southend, they only had room for six letters on the fascia, and chose the name Dixons from the phone book.
  • DKNY – Donna Karan New York.
  • Dow – named after its founder, Herbert Henry Dow.
  • DSM - established in 1902 to exploit the Dutch coal mines, the name meaning Dutch State Mines. The last mine closed in 1973, and the company switched to chemicals.
  • Duane Reade – named after Duane and Reade Streets in lower Manhattan, where the chain's first warehouse was located.[39] The chain was purchased by Walgreens in 2010, but still operates separately.
  • Dynegy – the Natural Gas Clearinghouse changed its name in 1998 to reflect its self-described traits as a dynamic energy company. "Dynergy" had already been taken by a German health foods company.

[edit]E

  • EA Games – EA is from Electronic Arts. The company was founded in May 1982 as Amazin' Software and changed its name to Electronic Arts in October the same year.
  • 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.
  • EDS – Electronic Data Systems, founded in 1962 by former IBM salesman Ross Perot. According to the company history:[40] "He chose Electronic Data Systems from potential names he scribbled on a pledge envelope during a service at Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas."
  • Eidos – named from a Greek word meaning "species". The company became well known for its Tomb Raider series of games.
  • Eletropaulo – One of the largest Brazilian companies in electricity generation and distribution, its name derives from Companhia de Electricidade de São Paulo.
  • Embraer – Brazilian aircraft manufacturer, its name is an abbreviation of Empresa Brasileira deAeronáutica (Brazilian Aeronautics Company).
  • EMBRAPA – Brazilian state agricultural research and development company, its name is an abbreviation of Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (Brazilian Agriculture Research Company).
  • EMBRATEL – an abbreviation of Empresa Brasileira de Telecomunicações (Brazilian Telecommunications Company). Brazil's largest telecommunications company, it was a state monopoly until 1992 when it was privatized and sold to MCI, then later resold to Telmex.
  • EMC Corporation – named from the initials of the founders, Richard Egan and Roger Marino. There has long been a rumor that another partner provided the third letter (C). Other reports indicate the C stands for Company. EMC adopted the EMC² notation to refer to Einstein's famous equation, E = mc².
  • EMI – formerly Electric and Musical Industries Ltd.
  • Emporis – Empor comes from the German and means "aloft, rising". One of the world's largest providers of data concerning buildings.
  • Equifax – Equitable and factual
  • Ernst & Young – Named for the company's founders, A.C. Ernst and Arthur Young.
  • Ericsson – Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson is named after its founder Lars Magnus Ericsson, who opened a telegraph equipment repair shop in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1876.[41]
  • ESPN – Entertainment and Sports Programming Network
  • ESRI – Environmental Systems Research Institute, the first geographic information system (GIS) software company founded by Jack and Laura Dangermond in Redlands, California, in 1969
  • Epson – Epson Seiko Corporation, the Japanese printer and peripheral manufacturer, was named from "Son of Electronic Printer" after a highly successful model, the EP-101
  • Esso – the enunciation of the initials S.O. in Standard Oil of New Jersey.
  • Evernote – Combination of the words forever and note which indicate the core service that the app provides.
  • Exxon – a name contrived by Esso (Standard Oil of New Jersey) in the early 1970s to create a neutral but distinctive label for the company. Within days, Exxon was being called the "double cross company" but this eventually subsided. (Esso is a trademark of ExxonMobil.) Esso had to change its name in the U.S. because of restrictions dating to the 1911 Standard Oil antitrust decision.

[edit]F

  • F5 Networks – originally F5 Labs – taken from the Fujita scale of ratings for tornado intensity, whereF5 is the most intense to be used in normal practice even though the scale can physically describe up to F12 which corresponds to wind velocities of Mach 1.0.
  • FAS – abbreviation for Foras Áiseanna Saothair (Labour Facilities Foundation). Fás means grow in Irish.
  • Facebook – name stems from the colloquial name of books given to newly enrolled students at the start of the academic year by university administrations in the US with the intention of helping students to get to know each other better.
  • Fair Isaac Corporation – named after founders Bill Fair and Earl Isaac.
  • Fazer – Finnish food company named after its founder, Karl Fazer.
  • FCUK – French Connection United Kingdom.
  • FedEx – abbreviation of Federal Express Corporation, the company's original name.[42]
  • Fegime – abbreviation for "Fédération Européenne des Grossistes Indépendants" (European Federation of Independent Electrical Wholesalers).
  • Ferodo – anagram of the name of its founder, Herbert Froode.
  • Ferrari – from the name of its founder, Enzo Ferrari.
  • Fiat – acronym of Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino (Italian Automobile Factory of Turin)
  • Finnair – from "Finland" and "air". Originally called "Aero Osakeyhtiö", which led to its international flight code, "AY".
  • Firestone – named after its founder, Harvey Firestone.
  • Five Guys – American restaurant chain founded by "five guys" – Jerry Murrell and his four sons. The "five guys" would later become the Murrell sons, after Jerry and his wife Janie had a fifth son two years after opening their first restaurant.[43][44]
  • Fluke – named after its founder, John Fluke, Sr.
  • Ford Motor Company – named after its founder, Henry Ford, who introduced automobile mass production in 1914.
  • Forrester Research – from the family name of the mother of the founder George Forrester Colony.
  • FranklinCovey – named after Benjamin Franklin and Stephen Covey. The company was formed from the 1997 merger of FranklinQuest and the Covey Leadership Center.
  • Fuji – named after Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan.
  • Fujitsu - Originally the data division of Fuji Electric, who in turn, received their name as they were a joint venture between Furukawa Electric and Siemens, written as jiimensu in Japanese. The "tsu" comes from tsūshinki, meaning data equipment.

[edit]G

  • Garmin – named after its founders, Gary Burrell and Dr. Min Kao.
  • Gartner – named after its founder, Gideon Gartner, who left the firm in 1992 to start Giga (named fromGideon Gartner).
  • Gatti's Pizza – Gatti was the maiden name of Pat Eure, wife of company founder Jim Eure.
  • GCap Media – named after the merger of the GWR Group and Capital Radio Group in May 2005. GWR was launched in 1985 after the merger of Radio West and Wiltshire Radio.
  • Genentech – from Genetic Engineering Technology.
  • GEICO – from Government Employees Insurance Company
  • Gerdau – Largest producer of long steel in the Americas, named from the surname of the founder: Johannes Heinrich Kaspar Gerdau.
  • Glaxo – a dried-milk company set up in Bunnythorpe, New Zealand, by Joseph Edward Nathan. The company wanted to use the name "Lacto" but it was similar to some already in use. Glaxo evolved and was registered on 27 October 1906. GlaxoSmithKline was a 2000 merger of Glaxo Wellcome andSmithKline Beecham.
  • Glock Ges.m.b.H. – named after its founder, Gaston Glock.
  • Goodyear – named after the founder of vulcanization, Charles Goodyear, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber company was founded by Frank Seiberling in 1898.
  • Google – an originally accidental misspelling of the word googol and settled upon because google.com was unregistered. Googol was proposed to reflect the company's mission to organize the immense amount of information available online.
  • Grey Global Group – an advertising and marketing agency supposed to have derived its name from the colour of the walls of its first office.
  • Groupon – chief executive Andrew Mason used the derivation as his five-word acceptance speech at the 2011 Webby Awards ceremony: "It's short for group coupon."[45]
  • Grundig – named after its founder, radio dealer-turned-manufacturer Max Grundig, in 1945.
  • Gulfstream Aerospace – named after the Gulf Stream current that starts in the Gulf of Mexico and crosses the Atlantic. The company traces its origins to the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, which was sold and renamed in 1985.

[edit]H

  • Häagen-Dazs – Name was invented in 1961 by ice-cream makers Reuben and Rose Mattus of the Bronx "to convey an aura of the old-world traditions and craftsmanship".[46] The name has no meaning.
  • Haier – Chinese 海 "sea" and 尔 (a transliteration character; also means "you" in Literary Chinese). Portion of transliteration of German Liebherr 利勃海尔.
  • H&M – named from Hennes & Mauritz. In 1947, Swedish businessman Erling Persson establishedHennes, a ladies' clothing store, in Västerås, Sweden. "Hennes" is Swedish for "hers". In 1968, Persson bought the Stockholm premises and inventory of a hunting equipment store called Mauritz Widforss. The inventory included a collection of men's clothing, which prompted Persson to expand into menswear.
  • Happy Madison Productions – film and TV production company founded by Adam Sandler, its name is taken from the films Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison, two of his box office successes.
  • Haribo – from the name of the founder and the German home town of the company: Hans Riegel,Bonn.
  • Harman Kardon – named after its founders Dr. Sidney Harman and Bernard Kardon.
  • Harpo Productions – production company founded by Oprah Winfrey. Harpo is Oprah backwards.
  • Hasbro – founded by Henry and Helal Hassenfeld, the Hassenfeld Brothers.
  • HBOS – UK-based banking company formed by the merger of the Halifax and the Bank oScotland.
  • HCL – Hindustan Computers Ltd, Indian software company founded by Shiv Nadar.
  • Hess Corporation – named after its founder Leon Hess.
  • HP – Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard tossed a coin to decide whether the company they founded would be called Hewlett-Packard or Packard-Hewlett.
  • Hispano-Suiza – a former Spanish luxury automotive and engineering firm; its name – literally meaning "Spanish-Swiss" – refers to Spanish origin of the company and Swiss origin of its head engineer Marc Birkigt
  • Hitachi – old place name, literally "sunrise"
  • 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.
  • Hoechst – from the name of a district in Frankfurt.
  • Honda – from the name of its founder, Soichiro Honda.
  • Honeywell – from the name of Mark Honeywell, founder of Honeywell Heating Specialty Co. It later merged with Minneapolis Heat Regulator Company and was finally called Honeywell Inc. in 1963.
  • Hospira – the name, selected by the company's employees, is derived from the words hospital, spirit, inspire and the Latin word spero, which means hope. It expresses the hope and optimism that are critical in the healthcare industry.
  • Hotmail – Founder Jack Smith got the idea of accessing e-mail via the web from a computer anywhere in the world. When Sabeer Bhatia came up with the business plan for the mail service he tried all kinds of names ending in 'mail' and finally settled for Hotmail as it included the letters "HTML" – the markup language used to write web pages. It was initially referred to as HoTMaiL with selective upper casing. (At one time, if you clicked on Hotmail's 'mail' tab, you would have seen "HoTMaiL" in the URL, but since Hotmail is now Windows Live Mail, it is no longer there.)
  • H&R Block – after the founders, brothers Henry W. and Richard Bloch (with "Bloch" changed to "Block" to avoid mispronunciation).
  • HSBC – Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.
  • HTC Corporation – A contraction of its original corporate name, High Tech Computer Corporation.
  • Hudson's Bay Company – in 1670, a Royal Charter granted the lands of the Hudson Bay watershed to "the Governor and Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson Bay." The company ceded the territory to Canada in 1870.[47]
  • Hyundai – connotes the sense of "the present age" or "modernity" in Korean.

[edit]I

  • IBM – named by Tom (Thomas John) Watson Sr, an ex-employee of National Cash Register (NCR Corporation). To one-up them in all respects, he called his company International Business Machines.
  • ICL – abbreviation for International Computers Limited, once the UK's largest computer company but now a service arm of Fujitsu, of Japan.
  • IG Farben – Interessen-Gemeinschaft Farbenindustrie AG was so named because the constituent German companies produced dyestuffs among many other chemical compounds. The consortium is most known today for its central participation in the World War II Holocaust, as it made the Zyklon Bgas used in the gas chambers.
  • Iiyama – manufacturer of monitors and TVs named after the Japanese city, Iiyama.
  • IKEA – a composite of the first letters in the Swedish founder Ingvar Kamprad's name in addition to the first letters of the names of the property and the village in which he grew up: Ingvar KampradElmtaryd Agunnaryd.
  • IMI – Imperial Metal Industries. Split off from Imperial Chemical Industries.
  • InBev – the name was created after the merger of the Belgian company Interbrew with BrazilianAmbev
  • Inditex – a Spanish group named from Industria de Diseño Textil (Textile Design Industry).
  • Infineon Technologies – derived from Infinity and Aeon. The name was given to Siemens'sSemiconductor branch (called Siemens HL or Siemens SC/SSC) when it was spun off.
  • Infosys – An Indian software major. "Information Systems"
  • Ingenico – electronic payment device manufacturer based in Paris and named from the FrenchIngenieux Compagnie (Ingenious Company).
  • Inktomi – an internet search engine, acquired by Yahoo! in 2002, was named after Iktomi, a spider-trickster spirit from Lakota Indian legends.
  • Intel – Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore initially incorporated their company as N M Electronics. Someone suggested Moore Noyce Electronics but it sounded too close to "more noise". Later, Integrated Electronics was proposed but it had already been taken, so they used the initial syllables (INTegrated ELectronics). To avoid potential conflicts with other companies with similar names, Intel purchased the name rights for $15,000 from a company called Intelco. (Source: Intel 15 Years Corporate Anniversary Brochure)
  • Ittiam Systems – an Indian company named from the famous philosophical dictum: "I think therefore I am" (Cogito, ergo sum).[48]

[edit]J

  • J2TV – from television and film production company formed by Malcolm in the Middle actor Justin Berfield and producer Jason Felts.
  • JAL – from Japan Airlines
  • Jat Airways – founded in 1927 as "Aeroput" (Airway in Serbian). From 1947, it was known as JAT (Jugoslovenski Aero Transport). After the break-up of the former Yugoslavia (and after Federal Republic of Yugoslavia changed its name to Serbia and Montenegro), the company kept the name, Jat, but not as an abbreviation.
  • Jawa Motors – from Janeček (the owner) and Wanderer (the motorcycle product).
  • JBL – from James B Lansing, an electronics designer
  • J. C. Penney – from James Cash Penney, founder of the department store chain.
  • Johnson & Johnson – Originally a partnership between brothers James Wood Johnson and Edward Mead Johnson in 1885, the addition of brother Robert Wood Johnson I led to formal incorporation as Johnson & Johnson in 1887.
  • JVC – Japan Victor Company (Victor Company of Japan, Ltd) was founded in 1927 as a US subsidiary, The Victor Talking Machine Company of Japan, Limited. JVC developed the VHS video cassette format.

[edit]K

  • Kalev – after Kalev, the character from Estonian mythology and national epic Kalevipoeg.
  • Kawasaki – from the name of its founder, Shozo Kawasaki
  • KFC – short for Kentucky Fried Chicken.
  • Kenwood Limited – named after Kenneth (Ken) Wood, who founded this kitchenware company as Woodlau Industries in the UK in 1947. It is not related to Kenwood Electronics, which started as Kasuga Radio Co in Japan in 1946 and became Trio Corporation in 1960.
  • Kenwood Electronics - Bill Kasuga was a partner in a firm that imported Japanese-made audio products from Trio Corporation to the United States. Kasuga wanted to create a trustworthy and Western-sounding name for products sold by his importing company as he was confident of the quality of Trio's products in a period when Japanese-made goods were considered subpar. He came up with the Kenwood name inspired by the term "Ken," which had meaning in Japanese and English, also echoing the consumer resonance of Kenmore Appliances and "wood", a reference to the durable substance as well as Hollywood, suggesting entertainment and durability. Trio Corporation would rename itself Kenwood in 1986.
  • Kenworth Truck Company – Kenworth Truck Company was formed in 1923 and is named after the two principal stockholders Harry Kent and Edgar Worthington.
  • Kia Motors – the name "Kia" (起亞) roughly translates as "Rising from Asia" in Hanja.
  • Kinko's – from the college nickname of founder, Paul Orfalea. He was called Kinko because he had curly red hair. The company was bought by FedEx for $2.4 billion in 2004.
  • Kmart – Named for Sebastian S. Kresge, who opened the first Kmart in 1962 as a division of his S. S. Kresge Company. The company became Kmart Corporation in 1977. After purchasing Sears, Roebuck & Company in 2005, the merged company became Sears Holdings Corporation, with Kmart continuing as a discount store chain within the new structure.
  • Kodak – Both the Kodak camera and the name were the invention of founder George Eastman. The letter "K" was a favorite with Eastman; he felt it a strong and incisive letter. He tried out various combinations of words starting and ending with "K". He saw three advantages in the name. It had the merits of a trademark word, would not be mis-pronounced and the name did not resemble anything in the art. There is a misconception that the name was chosen because of its similarity to the sound produced by the shutter of the camera.
  • Komatsu – Japanese construction vehicle manufacturer named from the city of Komatsu, Ishikawa, where it was founded in 1917.
  • Konica – it was earlier known as Konishiroku Kogaku. Konishiroku in turn is the short for KonishiyaRokubeiten which was the first name of the company established by Rokusaburo Sugiura in the 1850s.
  • Korg – named from the surnames of the founders, Tsutomu Katoh and Tadashi Osanai, combined with the letters "rg" from the word organ.
  • KPMG – from the last names of the founders of the firms which combined to form the cooperative: PietKlijnveldWilliam Barclay PeatJames Marwick, and Reinhard Goerdeler.[49]
  • Kroger – American supermarket chain named after its founder, Barney Kroger
  • KUKA – founded in 1898 in Augsburg, Germany as Keller Und Knappich Augsburg, it shortened its name to KUKA. Today, it is a manufacturer of industrial robots and automation systems.
  • Kyocera – from Kyoto Ceramics, after Kyoto in Japan.

[edit]L

  • L&T- The company was founded in MumbaiIndia in 1938 by two Danish engineers, Henning Holck-Larsen & Søren Kristian Toubro.
  • Lada – from the name of a Slavic goddess, and used as a trading name by Russian automobile manufacturer AvtoVAZ (АВТОВАЗ in Russian). VAZ is derived from Volzhsky Automobilny Zavod.
  • Lancôme – began in 1935, when its founder, Armand Petitjean, was exploring the ruins of a castle, Le Chateau de Lancôme (Loir-et-Cher) while vacationing in the French countryside. Petitjean's inspiration for the company's symbol, a rose, was the many wild roses growing around the castle.
  • LCL – from Le Crédit Lyonnais.
  • Lego – combination of the Danish "leg godt", which means to "play well".[50] Lego also means "I put together" in Latin, but Lego Group claims this is only a coincidence and the etymology of the word is entirely Danish. Years before the little plastic brick was invented, Lego manufactured wooden toys.
  • Lenovo Group – a portmanteau of "Le-" (from former name Legend) and "novo", pseudo-Latin for "new". This Chinese company took over IBM's PC division.
  • Lesney Products – Named from the founders Leslie Smith and Rodney Smith, who were school friends but not related. This British company made the Matchbox series of die-cast toys, similar to Dinky toys.[51]
  • Level 3 Communications – "Level 3" is a reference to the network layer of the OSI model.
  • LG – from the combination of two popular Korean brands, Lucky and Goldstar. (In Mexico, publicists explained the name change as an abbreviation to Linea Goldstar, Spanish for Goldstar Line)
  • Lexmark – in the 1980s, IBM wanted to spin off its printer and typewriter businesses. The main production facility for this business segment was in Lexington, Kentucky, and the code name for the spinoff was Lexington Marketing.
  • Lionbridge – the word "localisation", which is the service this company offers, is often shortened to L10N. That is the first letter of the word and the last letter of the word, with 10 letters missing in between, hence L 10 N, which looks like lion. Bridge is the second part of the word as translation 'bridges' gap between people and markets that do not have a common language.
  • Lionhead Studios – games studio named after Mark Webley's pet hamster, which died a week before the company was founded.[52] Webley worked for Bullfrog, and co-founded Lionhead with Peter Molyneux, Tim Rance and Steve Jackson in July 1997. Microsoft bought the company in April 2006.
  • Loblaws – Canadian supermarket chain named for founder Theodore Loblaw.
  • Lockheed Martin – Aerospace manufacturer, a combination of Lockheed Corporation and Martin Marietta, which is a combination of Glenn L. Martin Company and American-Marietta Corporation.
  • LoJack – "LoJack" (the stolen-vehicle recovery system) is a pun on the word "hijack" (to steal a vehicle).
  • Longines – In 1862 the new company "Ancienne Maison Auguste Agassiz, Ernest Francillon, Successeur" was born. At that time watchmaking in the area used the skills of people working outside the "comptoir d'établissage", often at home. In 1866 Ernest Francillon bought two plots of land on the right bank of the river Suze at the place called "Les Longines" and brought all of the watchmaking skills under one roof. This was the first "Longines factory".
  • Lonsdale – boxing equipment manufacturer named after the Lonsdale Belt, a boxing trophy donated by the English Lord Lonsdale.
  • L'Oréal – In 1907, Eugène Schueller, a young French chemist, developed an innovative hair-color formula. He called his improved hair dye Auréole.
  • LOT – LOT Polish Airlines. "Lot" in Polish means "flight".
  • Lotus Software – Mitch Kapor named his company after the Lotus Position or 'Padmasana'. Kapor used to be a teacher of Transcendental Meditation technique as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
  • Lucent Technologies – a spin-off from AT&T, it was named Lucent (meaning "luminous" or "glowing with light") because "light as a metaphor for visionary thinking reflected the company's operating and guiding business philosophy", according to the Landor Associates staff who chose the name.[53] It was taken over by Alcatel to form Alcatel-Lucent in 2006.
  • Lukoil – From the first letters of the three companies that merged to form the Russian oil giant:Langepasneftegaz, Uraineftegaz, and Kogalymneftegaz, plus the English word "oil".
  • Lycos – from Lycosidae, the family of wolf spiders.[54]

[edit]M

  • Maggi – food company named after its founder, Julius Maggi. It was taken over by Nestlé in 1947 and survives as a brand name.
  • Malév - Hungary's national airline carrier. Its name comes from Magyar giközlekedési Vállalat - meaning Hungarian Air-traffic Company.
  • MAN – abbreviation for Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg (Augsburg-Nuremberg Machine Company). The MAN company is a German engineering works and truck manufacturer.
  • Mandriva – new company formed from the merger of Mandrake Linux and Connectiva Linux
  • Manhattan Associates – named from Manhattan Beach, California, where the company was founded, before it moved to Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Manugistics – Manufacturing + Logistics, a supplier of supply chain optimization software.
  • Manulife Financial – founded in 1887 as Manufacturing Life Insurance Company
  • Mars – named after Frank C. Mars and his wife, Ethel, who started making candy in 1911. Their son, Forrest E. Mars, joined with Bruce Murrie, the son of a Hershey executive, to form M&M Ltd (from Mars & Murrie). Forrest took over the family business after his father's death and merged the two companies in 1964. After retiring from Mars, Inc. in 1993, Forrest founded Ethel M. Chocolates, named after his mother.
  • Masco Corporation – from the names of the founder Alex Manoogian, Screw and Company. Masco Screw Products Co. was founded in 1929.
  • Mast-Jägermeister AG – Named for founder Wilhelm Mast and its main product, Jägermeister(German for "hunt master") liqueur.
  • Mattel – a portmanteau of the founders names Harold "Matt" Matson and Elliot Handler.
  • Maybach-Motorenbau GmbH – It was founded in 1909 by Wilhelm Maybach with his son Karl Maybach.
  • Mazda Motor Corporation – the company was founded as Toyo Kogyo, started manufacturing Mazda brand cars in 1931, and changed its name to Mazda in 1984. The cars were supposedly named afterAhura Mazda, the chief deity of the Zoroastrians, though many think this explanation was created after the fact, to cover up what is simply a poor anglicized version of the founders name, Jujiro Matsuda.
  • MBNA – originally a subsidiary of Maryland National Corporation, MBNA once stood for MarylandBank, NA (NA itself standing for National Association, a federal designation representing the bank's charter).
  • McDonald's – from the name of the brothers Dick McDonald and Mac McDonald, who founded the first McDonald's restaurant in 1940.
  • MCI Communications – Microwave Communications, Inc. The company later merged with Worldcomto create MCI Worldcom. The MCI was dropped in 2000 and the acquiring company changed its name to MCI when it emerged from bankruptcy in 2003.
  • Mercedes – from the first name of the daughter of Emil Jellinek, who distributed cars of the early Daimler company around 1900.
  • Merillat Industries – named after Orville D. Merillat, who founded the company in 1946.
  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) – Film studio formed from the merger of three other companies: MetroPicture Corporation, Goldwyn Pictures Corporation, and Louis B. Mayer Pictures. Goldwyn Picture Corporation in turn was named after the last names of Samuel Goldfish, and Edgar and Archibald Selwyn.
  • MFI – from Mullard Furniture Industries. The original company was named after the founder's wife, whose maiden name was Mullard.
  • MG Cars – from Morris Garages after co-founder William Morris. Under Chinese ownership, the company says: "We want Chinese consumers to know this brand as 'Modern Gentleman'."[55]
  • Microlins – from Microcomputers and Lins, a Brazilian city where the company was founded by José Carlos Semenzato
  • Micron Technology – computer memory producer named after the microscopic parts of its products. It is now better known by its consumer brand name: Crucial.
  • Microsoft – coined by Bill Gates to represent the company that was devoted to microcomputersoftware. Originally christened Micro-Soft, the '-' disappeared on 3/2/1987 with the introduction of a new corporate identity and logo. The "slash between the 'o' and 's' [in the Microsoft logo] emphasizes the "soft" part of the name and conveys motion and speed."[citation needed]
  • Midway Games – derived from the name of an airport on the southwestern part of Chicago.
  • Mincom Limited – Mincom was founded in Brisbane, Australia in 1979. Currently the largest software company in Australia and the fourth oldest ERP company globally. The company initially created software to specifically assist mining companies and the name Mining 'computing.
  • Minolta – Minolta was founded in Osaka, Japan in 1928 as Nichi-Doku Shashinki Shōten (日独写真機商店; literally: Japan-Germany camera shop). It was not until 1934 that the name Minolta first appeared on a camera, the Minolta Vest. The name was given by founder Kazuo Tajima due to its similarity to the Japanese term "minoru ta" {稔る田} meaning "growing rice fields," which came from an ancient Japanese proverb that was a favorite of Tajima's mother meaning "the ripest ears of rice bow their heads lowest," and a desire from Tajima to run an innovative, yet humble business.
  • MIPRO – stands for MIcrophone PROfessionals. MIPRO is a manufacturer of wireless microphones.
  • MIPS – originally stood for Microprocessor without Interlocking Pipeline Stages. When interlocks where added to a later implementation, the name was redefined to not be an acronym but just a name. (The name also connotes computer speed, by association with the acronym for millions of instructionsper second.)
  • MITIE – an acronym for Managamenet Incentive Through Investment Equity
  • Mitel – from Mike and Terry's Lawnmowers, after the founders Michael Cowpland (see also: Corel) and Terry Matthews, and the company's original business plan.
  • MITRE – Massachusetts Institute of Technology Research Establishment.[56][57][58] (however The MITRE Corporation asserts that its name is not an acronym[citation needed])
  • Mitsubishi – the name Mitsubishi (三菱) has two parts: mitsu means three and hishi (changing to bishi in the middle of the word) means diamond (the shape). Hence, the three diamond logo. (Note that "diamond" in this context refers only to the rhombus shape, not to the precious gem.)
  • Moneris Solutions – Latin for "You (plural) are being protected."
  • Morningstar, Inc. – The name Morningstar is taken from the last sentence in Walden, a book by Henry David Thoreau; "the sun is but a morning star"
  • Motorola – Founder Paul Galvin came up with this name when his company (at the time, Galvin Manufacturing Company) started manufacturing radios for cars. Many audio equipment makers of the era used the "ola" ending for their products, most famously the "Victrola" phonograph made by theVictor Talking Machine Company. The name was meant to convey the idea of "sound" and "motion". It became so widely recognized that the company later adopted it as the company name.
  • Mozilla Foundation – from the name of the web browser that preceded Netscape Navigator. When Marc Andreesen, co-founder of Netscape, created a browser to replace the Mosaic browser, it was internally named Mozilla (Mosaic-Killer, Godzilla) by Jamie Zawinski.[59]
  • Mozy - from the words "More Zetabytes for Your Mom". It was initially named "Breakaway Data Services for Your Mom," or "Bdsym".
  • MRF – from Madras Rubber Factory, founded by K M Mammen Mappillai in 1946. He started with a toy-balloon manufacturing unit at Tiruvottiyur, Chennai (then called Madras). In 1952 he began manufacturing tread-rubber and, in 1961, tyres.
  • Musco Lighting – from the company's original location of Muscatine County, Iowa, where it still operates a large manufacturing facility.
  • Mustek – Taiwanese electronics manufacturer with name derived from Most Unique ScannerTechnology.
  • MVC – from Music and Video Club, the name of a UK-based entertainment chain.

[edit]N

  • Nabisco – formerly The National Biscuit Company, changed in 1971 to Nabisco.
  • NAD Electronics – Audio equipment manufacturer named for New Acoustic Dimension.
  • Napster – the original music-sharing service was named after co-founder Shawn Fanning's hairstyle-based nickname.
  • NCR Corporation – from National Cash Register.
  • NEC – from Nippon Electric Company.
  • Nero – Nero Burning ROM named after Nero burning Rome ("Rom" is the German spelling of "Rome").
  • Nestlé – named after its founder, Henri Nestlé, who was born in Germany under the name "Nestle", which is German (actually, Swabian diminutive) for "bird's nest". The company logo is a bird's nest with a mother bird and two chicks.
  • Netscape – Originally the product name of the company's web browser ("Mosaic CommunicationsNetscape Web Navigator"). The company adopted the product name after the University of Illinoisthreatened to sue for trademark infringement over the use of the Mosaic name. Netscape is the combination of network and landscape.[citation needed]
  • Nike – named for the Greek goddess of victory.
  • Nikon – the original name was Nippon Kogaku, meaning "Japanese Optical".
  • 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".
  • Nissan – the company was earlier known by the name Nippon Sangyo which means "Japan Industries".
  • Nokia – started as a wood-pulp mill, the company expanded into producing rubber products in the Finnish city of Nokia. The company later adopted the city's name.
  • Nortel Networks – named from Nortel (Northern Telecom) and Bay Networks. The company was originally spun off from the Bell Telephone Company of Canada Ltd in 1895 as Northern Electric and Manufacturing, and traded as Northern Electric from 1914 to 1976.
  • Novartis – after the Latin expression "novae artes" which means something like "new skills".
  • Novell – Novell, Inc. was earlier Novell Data Systems co-founded by George Canova. The name was suggested by George's wife who mistakenly thought that "Novell" meant new in French. (Nouvelle is the feminine form of the French adjective 'Nouveau'. Nouvelle as a noun in French is 'news'.)

[edit]O

  • OCZ – a play on the word Overclockers.[60]
  • Onkyo – translates as "sound harmony". The Japanese audio company was founded as Osaka Denki Onkyo K.K in 1946.
  • Ooyala – the word Ooyala (ఉయ్యల) means 'cradle' in Telugu, as in a "cradle of innovation".
  • Oracle – Larry Ellison, Ed Oates and Bob Miner were working on a consulting project for the CIA. The code name for the project was Oracle. The project was designed to use the newly written SQL database language from IBM. The project was eventually terminated but they decided to finish what they started and bring it to the world. Later they changed the name of the company, Relational Software Inc., to the name of the product.
  • Ornge – new name (2006) for Ontario Air Ambulance, chosen to reflect the orange color of its aircraft. It was intended to provide a unique branding but the ornge.com misspelling was already used by an advertising portal.
  • Osram – from osmium and wolfram.

[edit]P

  • Paccar – from Pacific Car and Rail.
  • PCCW – originally Pacific Century Development, the company's English name was changed fromPacific Century CyberWorks Limited to PCCW Limited on 9 August 2002. It owns Hong Kong Telecom.
  • Pamida – U.S. retailer founded by Jim Witherspoon and Lee Wegener, it took its name from the first two letters of the names of Witherspoon's three sons: Patrick, Michael and David. It became a division of another American retailer, Shopko, in 2000, but is again a separate company after being spun off in 2007.
  • Pemex – An abbreviation of the full name of the state-owned Mexican oil/gasoline company, PetróleosMexicanos (Spanish for Mexican Petroleum).
  • Pennzoil – formed by a merger of South Penn Oil (Penn), a former Standard Oil subsidiary, andZapata Oil (zoil).
  • Pepsi – named from the digestive enzyme pepsin.
  • Petrobras – An abbreviation of the Brazilian oil company's full name, Petróleo Brasileiro (Portuguesefor Brazilian Petroleum).
  • Peugeot - Named after Emile Peugeot.
  • Philco – from the Philadelphia Storage Battery Company. The pioneering U.S. radio and television manufacturer was taken over by Ford and later by Philips.
  • Philips – Royal Philips Electronics was founded in 1891 by brothers Gerard (the engineer) and Anton (the entrepreneur) Philips.
  • Piaggio – the Italian company that produced the Vespa range of scooters and cars was named after its founder, Rinaldo Piaggio.
  • Pioneer Corporation - Founder Nozomu Matsumoto gave the "Pioneer" name to the A-8 speaker he invented, as it was the first loudspeaker made in Japan which later became a name for products produced by his firm, Fukuin Denki "Gospel Electric." The original name came from Matsumoto's upbringing as the son of a Japanese Christian missionary. In 1961 after the firm was taken public, the name was changed to the more religiously neutral Pioneer Electronic Corporation, and finally Pioneer Corporation in 1998 after expanding into movie production and animation.
  • Pixar – from pixel and the co-founder's name, Alvy Ray Smith. According to the biography "The Second Coming of Steve Jobs" by Alan Deutschman, the 'el' in pixel was changed to 'ar' because 'ar' is frequently used in Spanish verbs, implying the name means "To Pix".
  • PMC-Sierra – PMC from Pacific Microelectronics Centre, a research arm of BC Tel, and Sierra from the company that acquired it, Sierra Semiconductor, presumably so named because of the allure of the Sierra Nevada mountains to members of a California-based company.
  • Porsche – car company named after founder Ferdinand Porsche, an Austrian automotive engineer. The family name may have originated in the Czech name "Boreš" (boresh).
  • POW! Entertainment – American media production company co-founded by former Marvel Comicseditor and publisher Stan Lee in 2001. POW! is commonly used in comic book fights, but it is used as an acroynm (or backronym) in the name POW! (Purveyors of Wonder) Entertainment, Inc.[61]
  • Prada – an Italian high fashion house named after the founder Mario Prada, who founded Prada in Milan 1914.
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers – Global professional services firm named as a result of the merger of Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand in 1998. It now trades as PwC, although its legal name remains the fully expanded form.
  • Procter & Gamble – named after the founders, William Procter, a candlemaker, and James Gamble, a soapmaker, who pooled their resources after marrying two sisters. The company was founded in Cincinnati in 1837.[62]
  • ProfSat – Brazilian satellite-based education company, meaning Professional Sateliite.
  • Proton – the Malaysian car manufacturer's name is derived from Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional, which means National Automobile Enterprise in the Malay language.
  • PRS Guitars – named after its founder, Paul Reed Smith.
  • Psion – UK computer company named by its founder, South Africa-born Dr David Potter, from PotterScientific Instruments ONothing.

[edit]Q

  • Q8 – the acronym for these gas stations sounds like Kuwait, that is, the letter Q followed by the number 8. It is the abbreviation for Kuwait Petroleum International Limited.
  • Qantas – from its original name, Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services.
  • Qimonda – Qimonda carries different meanings and allows associations in different languages. "Qi" stands for flowing or breathing energy, and it was thought that the combination of the English word "key" and the Latin "mundus" would be intuitively understood in the Western World as "key to the world".
  • Quad – an acronym for Quality Unit Amplified Domestic. Quad Electroacoustics was founded in 1936 by Peter Walker, and was formerly called the Acoustical Manufacturing Company.
  • Quark – named after the subatomic particle. The word quark originates from Finnegans Wake byJames Joyce.
  • Qualcomm – Quality Communication
  • QVC – Quality, Value and Convenience

[edit]R

  • Rabobank – Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank (Dutch for Farmers Loan Bank), a combination of the two cooperatives that merged to form the company.
  • RAND – Research ANDevelopment.
  • Raytheon – "Light of the gods". Maker of missiles such as Patriot, Maverick, Sidewinder and Tomahawk, among other military technology.
  • RCA – Radio Corporation of America.
  • Reckitt & Colman – named from the merger of Reckitt & Sons with J&J Colman in 1938. Colman's, best known for its mustard, was founded by Jeremiah Colman in 1814. Isaac Reckitt founded Reckitt & Sons in 1840.[63]
  • Reckitt Benckiser – consumer goods giant named from the merger of Britain's Reckitt & Colman and the Dutch company Benckiser NV in December 1999. The latter was named after its founder, Johann A. Benckiser.
  • Red Hat – while at college, company founder Marc Ewing was given the Cornell lacrosse team cap (with red and white stripes) by his grandfather. People would turn to him to solve their problems and he was referred to as that guy in the red hat. By the time he wrote the manual of the beta version of Red Hat Linux he had lost the cap, so the manual included an appeal to readers to return his Red Hat if found.
  • Reebok – alternate spelling of rhebok (Pelea capreolus), an African antelope.
  • Renault – French car manufacturer founded in 1899 as Société Renault Frères (French for Renault Brothers) by Louis Renault and his brothers Marcel and Fernand.
  • REO Motor Car Company – car manufacturer founded in 1904 by Ransom E. Olds, and named from its founder's initials. Later, the rock band REO Speedwagon took its name from one of its trucks, theREO Speed Wagon.
  • Repsol – name derived from Refinería de Petróleo de eScombreras Oil (Escombreras is an oil refinery in Cartagena, Spain) and chosen for its euphony when the, then, state-owned oil company was incorporated in 1986. Previously Repsol was a lubricating-oil trademark.
  • Research In Motion – from the phrase "poetry in motion", which company founder Mike Lazaridis had seen used to describe a football player.
  • Rickenbacker – named after co-founder Adolph Rickenbacher, with the spelling anglicised. The company started as the Electro String Instrument Corporation in 1931.
  • Robeez – baby-shoe company named after the founder's son Robbie (Robert).[64] Robeez was taken over by Stride Rite in 2006.
  • Rolls-Royce – name used by Rolls-Royce plc and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, among others. In 1884Frederick Henry Royce started an electrical and mechanical business, making his first car, a Royce, in 1904. He was introduced to Charles Stewart Rolls on 4 May that year. The pair entered into a partnership in which Royce would manufacture cars to be sold exclusively by Rolls, and the cars would be called Rolls-Royce.
  • RSA Security – formed from the first letters of the family names of its founders Ronald RivestAdi Shamir and Len Adleman.

[edit]S

  • Saab – founded in 1937 in Sweden as Svenska Aeroplan aktiebolaget (Swedish Aeroplane Company); the last word is typically abbreviated as AB, hence Saab and Saab Automobile AB.
  • Sabre – Semi-Automatic Business Research Environment.
  • Saku Brewery – after the village in Saku Parish, Estonia, where the company was founded.
  • Samsonite – named from the Biblical character Samson, renowned for his strength.
  • Samsung – meaning three stars in Korean.[65]
  • Sanyo – meaning three oceans in Japanese.
  • SAP – SystemAnalyse und Programmentwicklung (German for "System analysis and program development"), a company formed by five ex-IBM employees who used to work in the 'Systems/Applications/Projects' group of IBM. Later, SAP was redefined to stand for Systeme, Anwendungen und Produkte in der Datenverarbeitung (Systems, Applications and Products in Data Processing).
  • SAS – Scandinavian Airlines System, the flag airline carrier of Sweden, Norway and Denmark.
  • SAS Institute – originally an abbreviation for Statistical Analysis System.
  • Sasol – Suid-Afrikaanse Steenkool en Olie. (Afrikaans for South African Coal and Oil).
  • Saudi Aramco – the Aramco name was derived in 1944 when California Arabian Standard Oil Company (Casoc) changed its name to Arabian American Oil Company. The Saudi government purchased the company in 1980, and changed its name to Saudi Arabian Oil Company or Saudi Aramco in 1988.[66]
  • SCB – from Standard Chartered Bank. The name Standard Chartered comes from the two original banks from which it was founded – The Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China, and The Standard Bank of British South Africa.
  • Schick – manufacturer of shaving razors and blades, named after the inventor Jacob Schick.[67]
  • SCO – from Santa Cruz Operation. The company's office was in Santa Cruz, California. It eventually formed Tarantella, Inc. and sold off its operating system division to Caldera Systems, which is based in Utah. Caldera Systems changed its name to Caldera International and then to The SCO Group (at which point SCO no longer stood for anything).
  • SEAT – an acronym from Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo (Spanish Corporation of Touring Cars).
  • Sealed Air – from the "sealed air" found in its most notable product, Bubble Wrap.
  • Sega – Service Games of Japan was founded by Marty Bromley (an American) to import pinball games to Japan for use on American military bases.
  • Seiko – Seiko, now referred to in katakana as セイコー("seiko"), was originally named in kanji as 精工(also "seiko"). The two characters were taken from the phrase 「巧で密な時計の生産に成功する場」, the company's vision which roughly translates to "a factory(工場:kojyo)that successfully(成功:seiko)produces(生産:seisan)exquisit(精巧:seiko)and precise(精密:seimitsu)watches". – According to Seiko's official company history, titled A Journey In Time: The Remarkable Story of Seiko (2003), Seiko is a Japanese word for "exquisite" or "minute" (both spelled 精巧), as well as a word for "success" (spelled 成功).
  • Sennheiser – named after one of its founders, Fritz Sennheiser.
  • setcom – software engineering and testing for communications, an international group of companies active in the field of wireless test solutions.
  • SGI – Silicon Graphics Inc.
  • Sharp – Japanese consumer electronics company named from its first product, an ever-sharp pencil.
  • Shell – Royal Dutch/Shell was established in 1907, when the Royal Dutch Petrol Society Plc. and the Shell Transport and Trading Company Ltd. merged their operations. The Shell Transport and Trading Company Ltd had been established at the end of the 19th century by commercial firm Samuel & Co (founded in 1830). Samuel & Co were already importing Japanese shells when they set up an oil company, so the oil company was named after the shells.
  • Siemens – founded in 1847 by Werner von Siemens and Johann Georg Halske. The company was originally called Telegraphen-Bau-Anstalt von Siemens & Halske.
  • Six Apart – company co-founders Ben and Mena Trott were born six days apart (in September 1977).
  • Skanska – from Aktiebolaget Skånska Cementgjuteriet (Scanian Cement Casting Company)
  • SKF – from Svenska Kullagerfabriken AB, a Swedish manufacturer founded in 1907. See also Volvo.
  • Skoda Auto – the car company was founded in 1895 and originally named Laurin & Klement after its founders, Vaclav Laurin and Vaclav Klement. It was taken over by Škoda Works, an industrial conglomerate, in 1924, and adopted the Škoda name from Emil Škoda. Škoda Auto was split off after World War II and is now part of Volkswagen.
  • Skype – the original concept for the name was Sky-Peer-to-Peer, which morphed into Skyper, then Skype.[68]
  • Smart – Swatch + Mercedes + Art
  • SmartBear Software – named from "John Irving’s Hotel New Hampshire, a surreal novel in which a 'smart bear' plays an important role," according to founder Jason Cohen.[69] In 2007, he sold to AutomatedQA, which renamed itself after its more memorable subsidiary in 2010.
  • Smeg – founded by Vittorio Bertazzoni in Italy in 1948 as Smalterie Metallurgiche EmilianeGuastalla (metal enamelling factory).[70]
  • Smilebit – former Sega development studio named from what they hope to make you do (smile), and the smallest unit of computer information (bit). The company developed Jet Set Radio.
  • SNK – Shin Nihon Kikaku, Japanese for Plans for a New Japan.
  • Sony – from the Latin word 'sonus' meaning sound, and 'sonny' a slang word used by Americans to refer to a bright youngster, "since we were sonny boys working in sound and vision", said Akio Morita. The company was founded as Tokyo Tsoshiu Kogyo KK (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation) in 1946, and changed its name to Sony in 1958. Sony was chosen as it could be pronounced easily in many languages.
  • Sorcim – "Micros" backwards. Sorcim was the original publisher of the SuperCalc spreadsheet in 1980. It was taken over by Computer Associates.
  • SPAR – originally DE SPAR, from Door Eendrachtig Samenwerken Profiteren Allen Regelmatig(Dutch, meaning "All will benefit from united co-operation"). "De spar" in Dutch translates as "the fir tree", hence the fir tree logo. As the company expanded across Europe, the name was shortened by dropping the article, "DE".
  • Sperry – company founded by Elmer Ambrose Sperry (1860–1930), originally as Sperry Gyroscope Company. Sperry took over Univac, and eventually was itself taken over by Burroughs. The merged companies became Unisys, from United Information Systems.
  • Spiratone – from the last name of founders Fred Spira and Hans Spira. The company was founded as Spiratone Fine Grain Laboratories. The "tone" suffix was common in the photographic industry (an example cited by Fred Spira is Royaltone) at the time of the company's founding in the 1940s.
  • Sprint – from its parent company, Southern Pacific Railroad INTernal Communications. At the time, pipelines and railroad tracks were the cheapest place to lay communications lines, as the right-of-way was already leased or owned.
  • SRAM Corporation – named from its founders Scott King, Stanley Ray Day, and Sam Patterson.
  • SRI International – from Stanford Research Institute, established by the trustees of Stanford University, California
  • Stanley Works – name created to reflect the merger of Stanley's Bolt Manufactory of New Britain, Connecticut (founded by Frederick Trent Stanley) and the Stanley Rule and Level Company (founded by his cousin Henry Stanley).
  • Starbucks – named after Starbuck, a character in Herman Melville's novel Moby-Dick, also a variation of Starbo; at the time, a local mining camp north of Seattle.[71]
  • Stellent – coined from a combination of the words stellar and excellent.
  • Sturm, Ruger – from its founders, Alexander McCormick Sturm and William B. Ruger.
  • STX – pronounced as the word "sticks" because, when first founded, STX manufactured only lacrosse sticks
  • Subaru – from the Japanese name for the constellation known to Westerners as Pleiades or the Seven Sisters. Subaru's parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries, was formed from a merger of six companies, and the constellation is featured on the company's logo.
  • Sun Microsystems – its founders designed their first workstation in their dorm at Stanford University, and chose the name Stanford University Network for their product, hoping to sell it to the college. They did not.
  • SuSE – from Software und System-Entwicklung (software and system development). The company was bought by Novell for its Linux distribution.
  • Suzuki – from the name of its founder, Michio Suzuki.

[edit]T

  • Taco Bell – named after founder Glen Bell.
  • Talgo – from "Tren Articulado Ligero Goicoechea-Oriol" (Spanish for "Goicoechea-Oriol Light Articulated Train"), Goicoechea and Oriol being the founders of the company.
  • TAM Airlines – named from Transportes Aéreos Marília (Marilia's Air Transport). Marília is a city in São Paulo state, Brazil.
  • TAP Portugal – from "Transportes Aéreos Portugueses" (Portuguese Air Transport).
  • Tata Group – conglomerate named after Jamshedji Tata, considered "the father of Indian industry".
  • Taxan – made-up name chosen partly because Takusan is a Japanese word for many or much and was considered propitious, but mainly because the head of the company, in the U.S. at the time, Tak Shimizu was known by everyone as Tak-san.
  • TCBY – Originally, the company's name was "This Can't Be Yogurt", but a lawsuit from a competitor named "I Can't Believe It's Yogurt!" forced TCBY to create a new backronym for its initials: "The Country's Best Yogurt".
  • TCL – from Today China Lion. Derived from literal translation of "今日中国雄狮" from Chinese to English.
  • TCS – from Tata Consultancy Services, from India's Tata Group, named after founder and legendary industrialist Jamshedji Tata.
  • TDK Corporation – from Tokyo Denki Kagaku (Tokyo Electronics and Chemicals).
  • TEPCO – Tokyo Electric Power Company
  • Tesco – founder Jack Cohen – who sold groceries in the markets of the London East End from 1919 – acquired a large shipment of tea from T. E. Stockwell. He made new labels by using the first three letters of the supplier's name and the first two letters of his surname.
  • Teva Naot – outdoors shoe company is named after the modern Hebrew word for 'nature' (pronounced "tehvah")
  • Texaco – from The TexaCompany U.S.A.[72]
  • THX – from Tomlinson Holman Crossover, the name of the technology's inventor and the audio technology of a crossover amplifier. It may be a backronym, as the technology is owned by George Lucas's company, and he directed THX 1138.
  • TIBCO Software – The Information Bus Company. The company was founded by Vivek Ranadive as Teknekron Software Systems in 1985.
  • Tim Hortons – Canadian fast food doughnut, sandwich and coffee shop named after founder and hockey player Tim Horton. In Canada Tim Hortons is nicknamed "Tim's" and "Timmy's" -- in America, the chain is nicknamed "Timmy Ho's"
  • TNT N.V. and TNT Express – Thomas Nationwide Transport, an Australian company which was acquired by the Dutch postal company in 1996. The postal company renamed itself TNT N.V. in 2005. In 2011, TNT N.V. demerged; the express delivery company took the name TNT Express while the postal company renamed itself PostNL.
  • Toshiba – named from the merger of consumer goods company Tokyo Denki (Tokyo Electric Co) and electrical firm Shibaura Seisaku-sho (Shibaura Engineering Works).
  • Toyota – from the name of the founder, Sakichi Toyoda. Initially called Toyeda, it was changed after a contest for a better-sounding name. The new name was written in katakana with eight strokes, a number that is considered lucky in Japan.
  • Triang – operating name for Lines Bros Ltd, which was founded by William, Walter and Arthur Edwin Lines. Three Lines make a triangle
  • Tucows – an acronym for The Ultimate Collection OWinsock Software.[73]
  • TVR – derived from the first name of the company founder TreVoR Wilkinson
  • TWA – derived from Trans World Airlines. Before the airline opened up its first international route from New York to Paris in the 1950s, it was a domestic operation that focused on serving Los Angeles and San Francisco from New York, operating under the name Transcontinental and Western Air. Keeping the initials and rebranding as a global airline was a stroke of marketing continuity genius.
  • Twinings – named after founder Thomas Twining, who set up a tea-shop on the Strand in London in 1706.[74]
  • Twitter – Having rejected the name Twitch for their social networking service, co-founder Jack Dorseysays: "we looked in the dictionary for words around it and we came across the word 'twitter' and it was just perfect. The definition was 'a short burst of inconsequential information', and 'chirps from birds'. And that's exactly what the product was."[75]

[edit]U

  • Ubuntu Foundation – named from a Zulu word (ùɓúntú) that translates as "humanity to others".
  • Umbro – Umbro was founded in 1924 by the Humphrey (Umphrey) Brothers, Harold C. and Wallace.
  • Unilever – name created to reflect the merger of Margarine Unie and Lever Brothers, agreed in 1929.Lever Brothers was named after its founders, William Hesketh Lever and his brother, James.
  • UNIMED – Brazilian cooperative of physicians, meaning União de Medicos (Physicians' Union)
  • Unisys – from United Information Systems, the new name for the company that resulted from the merging of two old mainframe computer companies, Burroughs and Sperry [Sperry Univac/Sperry Rand]. It united two incompatible ranges. The newborn Unisys was briefly the world's second-largest computer company, after IBM.
  • Unocal Corporation – the Union Oil Company of California, founded in 1890
  • UPS – United Parcel Service of America, Inc.
  • UUNET – one of the industry's oldest and largest Internet Service Providers, named from UNIX-to-UNIX Network.

[edit]V

  • Vaisala – Finnish company named after its founder, Professor Vilho Väisälä
  • Valero Energy Corporation – From Misión San Antonio de Valero, the Spanish-language name of the mission in the company's home city better known as The Alamo.
  • Valtra – from Valmet Tractors, where Valmet is the name of a Finnish state-owned company (originally Valtion Metallitehtaat – English: State Metalworks)
  • Varig – A Brazilian airline, its name is an abbreviation of Viação Aérea Rio-Grandense, because it was founded in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.
  • Verizon – a portmanteau of veritas (Latin for truth) and horizon.
  • Virgin – founder Richard Branson started a magazine called Student while still at school. In his autobiography, Losing My Virginity, Branson says that when they were starting a business to sell records by mail order, "one of the girls suggested: 'What about Virgin? We're complete virgins at business.'"
  • VMware – Virtual Machine [soft]ware
  • Vodafone – from Voice, Data, Telefone. Vodafone made the UK's first mobile call at a few minutes past midnight on 1 January 1985.
  • Volkswagen – from the German for people's carFerdinand Porsche wanted to produce a car that was affordable for the masses – the Kraft-durch-Freude-Wagen (or "Strength-Through-Joy car", from a Nazi social organization) later became known, in English, as the Beetle.
  • Volvo – from the Latin word volvo, which means "I roll". It was originally a name for a ball bearing being developed by SKF.

[edit]W

  • Wachovia – from the Latin version of the German wachau, the name given to a region in North Carolina by German settlers because it reminded them of a river near their home in Germany. Many companies founded in or around Charlotte, North Carolina have Wachovia in their name.[citation needed]
  • Waitrose – upmarket UK supermarket chain originally named after the founders, Wallace Waite, Arthur Rose and David Taylor. The Taylor was later dropped.
  • Walgreens – named after founder Charles R. Walgreen, Sr.[76]
  • Wal-Mart – named after founder Sam Walton
  • Wang Laboratories – from the name of the founder, An Wang, the inventor of core memory.
  • Wells Fargo – From the founders of the original Wells Fargo companyHenry Wells and William G. Fargo. (When Norwest purchased Wells Fargo in 1998, it chose to retain the Wells Fargo name.)
  • Wendy's – Wendy was the nickname of founder Dave Thomas' daughter Melinda.
  • Weta Digital – special effects company co-founded by The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson. 'Weta' are a group of about 70 species of insect found in New Zealand, where Weta Digital is based.
  • W H Smith – founded by Henry Walton Smith and his wife Anna in London, England, in 1792. They named their small newsagent's shop after their son William Henry Smith, who was born the same year.
  • Williams-Sonoma – founded by Chuck Williams in Sonoma, California.
  • Wipro – from Western India Palm Refined Oil Ltd Wipro Technologies. The company started as a modest Vanaspati and laundry soap producer and is now also an IT services giant.
  • Wonderware – Wonderware was the project code name for the company prior to its launch. Upon making the company a legal entity, the code name was retained as the company name.
  • Worlds of Wonder – founder Don Kingsborough wanted an eyecatching stock symbol, and Worlds Of Wonder provided WOW. The company went bankrupt in 1988.
  • WPP – global advertising and marketing company founded by Martin Sorrell in 1985. He bought an existing listed company, Wire & Plastic Products PLC, to use as a shell.[77]
  • WWE – From the company's legal name of World Wrestling Entertainment, adopted in 2002; it began using the initialism as its trading name in 2011. The previous name of World Wrestling Federation (WWF), used since 1979, was changed after a court case brought by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which is now called the World Wide Fund for Nature.

[edit]X

  • Xerox – named from xerography, a word derived from the Greek xeros (dry) and graphos (writing). The company was founded as The Haloid Company in 1906, launched its first XeroX copier in 1949, and changed its name to Haloid Xerox in 1958.[78]
  • XIX Entertainment – XIX is 19 in Roman numerals, so the company is named indirectly after Paul Hardcastle's single 19, and directly derived from 19 Entertainment – see above.
  • Xobni – inbox, backwards
  • XTO Energy – Founded in 1986 as Cross Timbers Oil Company, it went public under the stock ticker XTO, and changed its name to XTO Energy Inc in 2001. It is now owned by Exxon Mobil.[79]

[edit]Y

  • Yahoo! – The word Yahoo was invented by Jonathan Swift and used in his book Gulliver's Travels. It represents a person who is repulsive in appearance and barely human. Yahoo! founders David Filoand Jerry Yang jokingly considered themselves yahoos. It's also an interjection sometimes associated with United States Southerners' and Westerners' expression of joy, as alluded to in Yahoo.com commercials that end with someone singing the word "yahoo". It is also sometime jokingly referred to by its backronymYet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.[80]
  • YKK – zipper manufacturer named from Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha (Yoshida Company Limited) after the founder, Tadao Yoshida. The letters YKK were stamped onto the zippers' pull tabs.
  • Yakult – Official claims state that the name is derived from jahurto, an older form of jogurto, theEsperanto word for "yogurt". However, it has also been claimed that the name is derived from the fact that the product was developed from ancient Mongolian practices of culturing yak's milk in a sack made from a yak's stomach – the combination of Yak and Culture in English giving the product name as "Yakult".
  • Yamaha – after Torakusu Yamaha, who founded the company as Nippon Gakki Seizō Kabushiki Gaisha (Japan Musical Instrument Manufacturing Corporation) in 1897 after repairing a reed organ. The official name was changed to Yamaha Corporation on 1 October 1987.[81]
  • Yoplait – from the merger of Yola and Coplait in 1965.[82]

[edit]Z

  • Zamzar – Based on a character (Gregor Samsa) from the Bohemian author Franz Kafka's book "The Metamorphosis". In the novel Kafka describes the story of a young man who is transformed whilst sleeping into a gigantic insect. A version of the man's name was used as the basis for the company name because of its' powerful association with change and transformation.[83]
  • Zend Technologies – a contraction derived from the names of Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans, the two founders.
  • Zero Corporation – Founded by Herman Zierold as Zierold Metal Corporation, it is the parent company of Zero Halliburton. In 1952, when then owner Jack Gilbert noticed that many of the company's customers mispronounced and misspelled "Zierold" as "Zero," he changed the name of the company to Zero Manufacturing.[84]
  • Zimmer – named after Justin O. Zimmer, who co-founded the medical equipment company in Warsaw, Indiana, in 1927.[85]
  • Zuse – pioneering German computer company named after its founder, Konrad Zuse (1910–1995). He built his first computer in his parents' living room at the end of the 1930s. Zuse was taken over bySiemens AG. The name is now supposedly echoed by SuSE (Software und System-Entwicklung: "Software and system development").