How 39 Famous Companies Got Their Names?

How many did you know?


Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas’ daughter was named Melinda, but Wendy was her nickname.


a97dd51508fa59de7883b8fe7ad6cfba_650x7-Eleven was renamed from “U-Tote’m” in 1946 to reflect their newly extended hours, 7:00 am until 11:00 pm. Although most are now open 24/7, they stuck with the name.

391e78a25235c16965b5e86fcd14f434_650xAdobe is from the Adobe Creek that ran behind the house of co-founder John Warnock.

87f60c1c7e4932e68b726ad5cbdd8840_650xStarbucks is named after Starbuck, a character in the novel Moby-Dick.


09f31876d83efaa5349e1c1390f8ae4b_650xNike is named after the Greek goddess of victory.

49fc71c725226a71df1f0a47aa811d53_650xGoogle was originally accidental misspelling of the number googol and settled upon because was unregistered. Googol is pronounced the same way and is the number 1 followed by 100 zeros. It was proposed to reflect the company’s mission to organize the immense amount of information available online.

2d2fa05ab1db125f552afe4dd143c6fe_650xAmazon founder Jeff Bezos renamed the company from the earlier name of after the world’s most voluminous river, the Amazon.

f11e6305ec5d3e168d861534acf42a20_650xLG is not from Life’s good but is from the combination of two popular Korean brands, Lucky and Goldstar.


a15030a12ea9e641bf7f346810c642e8_650xAMC Theatres is from American Multi-Cinema and they pioneered multi-screen cinemas.

0e4ed56e18dbfd0efde98142fa2bd343_650xPepsi gets its name from the digestive enzyme pepsin. It originally was marketed as a healthy drink that would aid in digestion.

027ab6d49448912ce783ef2c2a471b8a_650xMitsubishi has two parts: mitsu means three and hishi (which is pronounced bishi when at the end of a word) means diamond (the shape). Hence, the three diamond logo.

e6eb16edb14867e266484c9e4c091c09_650xLego is a combination of the Danish “leg godt”, which means to “play well.” Lego also means “I put together” in Latin, but the company claims this is only a coincidence.

05615a7df3a4566399b4df961fa4a081_650xApple is for the favorite fruit of co-founder Steve Jobs and/or for the time he worked at an apple orchard. It was also meant to distance itself from the cold, unapproachable, complicated imagery created by other computer companies at the time.


e89a183c4b0886718c60c661a54a5382_650xArby’s is the enunciation of the initials of its founders, the Raffel Brothers.

5784f3e0778c5c7069ccfcaa57633790_650xASICS is an acronym for Anima Sana In Corpore Sano, which means “Healthy soul in a healthy body” in Latin.

6015eb3ee0fa28f99867a99ace4cffdc_650xeBay founder Pierre Omidyar had formed a web consulting concern called Echo Bay Technology Group. He reportedly said. Echo Bay Mines Limited, a gold mining company, had already taken, so Omidyar registered what (at the time) he thought was the second best name:

86bf67875ba37b3e83cd51cbc96b212d_650xAT&T was the American Telephone and Telegraph Corporation and they officially changed their name to AT&T in the 1990s.


ad74f0f329f1dc8f7fab404ca1e16c48_650xBIC Corporation was named after one of its founders, Marcel Bich. He dropped the H to avoid a potentially inappropriate English pronunciation of the name.

0ddfe2ab181dd69ed30c5ab9f530cf62_650xSony is from the Latin word “sonus” meaning sound.

31541d16397cf65199356ec54b7759df_650xCisco is short for San Francisco.

8f922163f9ea651c4247a1ac4dc86fa9_650xCoca-Cola is 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.


825439f36ceeb67cad6f2188db63e626_650xEpson was named from “Son of Electronic Printer.”

5410dc817c5d6b4eaf6713b3eaa81349_650xAMD is from Advanced Micro Devices.

686d36ec3ceb6b7983f7cf7776ea3dee_650xGEICO is an acronym of Government Employees Insurance Company.

d571680962c86297f9c61e1668d01041_650xReebok is an alternate spelling of rhebok, an African antelope.


f619b98358b746cc60f8644f786054c8_650xHagen-Dazs was made up in 1961 by the founders and has no meaning.

91ef769b5390de70c06cf7b1e2e31c1c_650xIKEA is 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 Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd.

a0dd82b15732c824fa5ec13ad6434f5d_650xSamsung means “three stars” in Korean.

bbe2006082eedaf1cc3f6bb867acb5b8_650xVolkswagen is German for people’s car.


2fde352b28a5cff5a0a3a39bf0f7e9bd_650xMicrosoft was originally Micro-Soft and the name was coined by Bill Gates to represent the company that was devoted to MICRO-computer SOFTware.

378e76fc15927064eded7df982c6dff0_650xNabisco was formerly The National Biscuit Company, and was changed in 1971 to Nabisco.

beca404b559e41f34a37c3ec3a5051a0_650xSharp was named after one of their first products, an ever-sharp pencil.

cf06c48bf3436483e62363dd8f9c8a54_650xAflac is from the company’s previous name of American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus (which remains the legal name of their underwriting subsidiary).


d65d4071823d9b9f7afd9a1404517f3d_650xQVC is from Quality, Value, and Convenience.

053dfa708cd0a5729702423a80068dc0_650xSamsonite got its name from the Biblical character Samson, renowned for his strength.

5fb89cae5910c0c57962e70c50d461ea_650x3M is from the company’s original name, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company.

df86a5702de3572251d3e75acc8df739_650xSega comes from SErvice GAmes of Japan and was founded by Marty Bromley (an American) to import pinball games to Japan for use on American military bases.

2146acf92b9e7b02a55dc4fad04f5649_650xVolvo is Latin for “I roll.”

e3f20d59b4ff8b699d13617b9755e71d_650xSprint is 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.



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