What Are Some English Translations of Pokemon Names and What Do They Mean?

Many English translations of Pokemon names are combinations of various words or word roots that describe the Pokemon’s characteristics. For example, the starter Pokemon Bulbasaur, which resembles a plantlike lizard, combines the word bulb, referring to a type of plant, with the Greek suffix saur, meaning a lizard.

Bulbasaur’s evolved forms follow a similar pattern in their naming. Ivysaur, its second evolutionary stage, combines ivy with the suffix saur, while Venusaur, its final evolution, combines the Venus of a Venus Fly Trap with the saur suffix. The other starter Pokemon also follow similar patterns. Squirtle, an aquatic turtle Pokemon, combines the words squirt and turtle. Charmander, a fiery lizard, combines the word char, meaning to burn, with salamander, a variety of amphibian resembling a lizard.

Many other Pokemon also have names that are combinations of words describing their characteristics. Vulpix, the six-tailed fox Pokemon, gets its name from vulpine, which refers to foxes, and six, which describes its number of tails. Venonat and its evolved form Venomoth combine the word venom, implying poison, with gnat and moth, two types of flying insects.

Other Pokemon take their names from more unique sources. Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan, two fighting Pokemon, take the word hit to imply their fighting prowess. The endings of their names, however, reference Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, two Hollywood martial arts masters.