What Are Some Company Names and Their Origins?


Quick Answer

Adobe, the major software supplier, was name after Adobe Creek, which ran behind co-founder John Warnock's house. Convenience store chain 7-11, formerly called U-Tote'm, got its new name when the store hours changed to 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Coca-Cola derived its name from coca leaves and kola nuts, two ingredients originally used as flavorings.

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Full Answer

Many company names familiar to people in the United States derive from foreign words or phrases. Kia is roughly translated as "rising from Asis" in Hanji, a Korean term referring to Chinese alphabetic characters. Nintendo is a shortened version of "nintendou," a combination of the Japanese words "nin," meaning "entrusted," and "ten-dou", meaning "heaven." Canon was originally called Kwanon, a phonetic modernized spelling of the name of a Buddhist goddess.

Many well-known company names are acronyms or abbreviated versions of the original company name, such as Nabisco, shortened from National Biscuit Company; AT&T, shortened from American Telephone and Telegraph Company; and IBM, shortened from International Business Machines.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, wanted a company that began with the letter "A" so it would appear near the top of alphabetically ordered listings. He settled on Amazon because he believed it implied a vast amount of products, like the vast river of the same name.

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