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Elder Li=Elderly. Sages are elders. Is this a pun?

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If it was, it would be pretty funny to me.

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Yes, it may be a pun of both "elderly" and "sagely".

However, his name is also possibly from the word light, relating to how he gives you the TM for Flash, a move that uses light. This is supported by the fact that his Japanese name is Kōsei, with kō meaning light.

There is no exact answer, but these are both likely roots

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