- CA – Computer Associates was founded in 1976 as Computer Associates International, Inc. by Charles Wang
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Casio – from the name of its founder, Kashio Tadao, who had set up the company Kashio Seisakujo as a subcontractor factory.
- 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.
- Chrysler – named after the company founder, Walter P. Chrysler.
- Cisco – short for San Francisco. It has also been suggested that it was “CIS-co”: Computer Information Services was the department at Stanford University where the founders worked.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Corel – from Cowpland Research Laboratory, after the name of the company’s founder, Dr. Michael Cowpland.
- Cray – supercomputer company named after its founder, Seymour Cray.
- CVS – originally Consumer Value Stores. CEO Tom Ryan has said he now considers ‘CVS’ to stand for “Customer, Value, and Service”.
Archive for the ‘Name Meanings’ Category
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.
BASF — from Badische Anilin und Soda Fabriken. Anilin and Soda were the first products. Badisch refers to the location in the state of Baden, Germany (Black Forest region).
BBC — from British Broadcasting Corporation, originally British Broadcasting Company.
BEA Systems — from the first initial of each of the company’s three founders: Bill Coleman, Ed Scott and Alfred Chuang.
BenQ — Bringing Enjoyment and Quality to life
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.
Boeing — named after founder William Boeing.
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.)
Bridgestone — named after founder Shojiro Ishibashi. The surname Ishibashi means “stone bridge“, or “bridge of stone“.
Accenture — Accent on the Future. Greater-than ‘accent’ over the logo’s t points forward towards the future. The name Accenture was proposed by a company employee in Norway as part of an internal name finding process (BrandStorming). Prior to January 1, 2001 the company was called Andersen Consulting.
Adidas — from the name of the founder Adolf (Adi) Dassler.
Adobe — from the name of the river Adobe Creek that ran behind the houses of founders John Warnock and Chuck Geschke.
Akai — technically it means “red” in Japanese, but the Japanese also use it to refer to the color of the rising sun, as seen on the flag of Japan.
Alfa Romeo — the company was originally known as ALFA, an acronym for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili. When Nicola Romeo bought ALFA in 1915, his surname was appended.
AltaVista — Spanish for “high view”.
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.
Apple — for the favourite fruit of co-founder Steve Jobs and/or for the time he worked at an apple orchard. Apple wanted to distance itself from the cold, unapproachable, complicated imagery created by other computer companies at the time — which had names such as IBM, DEC, Cincom and Tesseract — in order to get people to use them at home. They looked for a name that supported a brand positioning strategy that was to be perceived as simple, warm, human, approachable and different.
Note: Apple had to get approval from the Beatle’s Apple Corps to use the name Apple and paid a one-time royalty of $100,000 to McIntosh Laboratory, Inc., a maker of high-end audio equipment, to use the derivative name Macintosh (’Mac’).
Ask.com — search engine formerly named after Jeeves, the gentleman’s gentleman (valet, not butler) in P. G. Wodehouse’s series of books. Ask Jeeves was shortened to Ask in 2006.
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.
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.
more coming soon …