Pokemon Pokémon Name Origins

Discussion in 'Beachfront Hangout' started by tommykai0210, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. tommykai0210 Aspiring Trainer


    Hey PB!

    So, I was having a conversation with a colleague of mine, and somehow we got on the topic of how the original Pokémon were named. Of course, most people know that Ekans and Arbok backwards spell out "snake" and "kobra" respectively. Many people, however, don't know that Hitmonchan was named after Jackie Chan. Similarly, Hitmonlee was named after Bruce Lee (thanks Cobalt for the correction)!

    There are plenty of other unique naming conventions out there; which ones do you know about?

    Post away!
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2018

  2. Celever Wheeeee~


    The vast majority of Pokémon names are just portmanteaus of two important aspects of their design (a portmanteau being combining two other words to make a new one). For example, doduo is dodo + duo, and dodrio is dodo + trio, because the first has two heads, and the second third. This is the naming convention that encompasses almost all Pokémon, though it's become more prevalent. If you look at Gen I and II, there are some more interesting names, such as the pseudo-onomatopoeia of Koffing and Weezing, and also some names which are literally just what the Pokémon is (Ponyta, Seel, Krabby) which are just descriptors more than anything else.

    By far, though, the most interesting names in the series are the names of the Red/Blue Beta, though. Naturally these aren't the names that were gone with in the end, but it provides a lot of insight into the design of certain Pokémon, as well as just being humorous in some way. Examples of some interesting names are Tangela used to be Meduza, which is interesting because its design isn't especially reminiscent of Medusa (to me, at least) but clearly that's where a lot of inspiration was taken from. Koffing and Weezing's beta names also used to be Ny and La, in reference to New York and Los Angeles and the air pollution there. But most of the beta names are interesting in their simplicity -- Doduo is literally just "Dodo", Cubone is Orphon and Marowak Guardian, Paras is Parasyte and Vulpix Foxfire. The most bizarre names, though, are Jigglypuff is called Pudding, and Wigglytuff Custard. Imagine a world where those remained their names.
    VioletValkyrie likes this.
  3. VioletValkyrie Happy Holidays~

    Chat Room Staff Member

    I love these name origins a lot more than those that just come from portmanteaus, but I typically see them more from the Japanese names of Pokémon. In fact, one of my favourite Japanese names for Pokémon is Celesteela. Its Japanese name is "Tekkaguya", which is derived from "Tekka", meaning steel, and "Kaguya", as in Princess Kaguya from The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, a story from Japanese folklore. I think Pokémon are given a lot more clever names in Japan, but the names don't really work well in English, as the reference to Princess Kaguya would be lost on western players. The localization team (or I assume it to be the localization team) seems to be giving them the portmanteau-based names, which while they're not something I dislike, come across feeling pretty bland in comparison.
    Celever likes this.
  4. Nekoban Ryo Fake Card Artist, Moth Freak, Fossil/Shiny-Hunter
    Nekoban Ryo


    I don't know why it took so long, but I only realized within the past few years that Raticate's name comes from eradicate (to destroy) and Crobat's from acrobat. I think I was trying to come up with names for potential evolutions when I figured them out.

    Omanyte is ammonite (an ancient spiral-shelled squid) with the vowel sounds swapped

    Togetic is a mistranslation of Togechick (spiky + chick)

    Yanma is Japanese for big dragonfly

    Ho-Oh comes from the Japanese name of the Chinese phoenix, Ho-o

    Relicanth is a combination of relic and coelacanth (a large fish once thought to be extinct)

    Purrloin is a pun on purloin (to steal)

    Volcarona is a combination of volcano (referring to its Fire typing) and corona (the halo around the sun)

    Drampa is a combination of dragon and grandpa
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018

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