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12 votes
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Here: http://pokemondb.net/etymology
I think we got it 99% correct, so thanks to everyone that helped, I really appreciate it!

The point of this post is just in case there may be a few mistakes. If you happen to notice anything you think is wrong, post an answer here and I will look into it. Answers will be hidden once corrections have been made (or rejected). Thanks to everyone who's contributed so far!

Update 10/10/2017: I finally got around to updating the origins for Gen 7 Pokemon on the site. Huge thanks to everyone who contributed!

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The Nidoran family's etymology does not include a reference to Cnidarians (pronounced ni-dare-ians), which are a group of animals classified by their poison stinging cells, called cnidocytes.
Yay! The Sun and Moon names are out!
I wanted to address a huge flaw in the origins of ponyta that no site seems to have gotten.
I'm fairly certain while ponytail does seem fitting that it's name is actually derived from the animal pony and then a corruption of the word niter(nyta) which is a flammable material used in gunpowder for instance
Is it just me, or should the origin of Marshadow be "Marsh" and "shadow"?
I checked bulbapedia, and apparently the Japanese is martial arts.
even though faced with glaring facts, I feel like 'martial arts' is a bit of a stretch, especially since it's literally the "Gloomdweller" pokemon. What's more Gloomy than a swamp?

sure, he's a fighting type... i just think "marsh" makes more sense. Is anybody with me?
he hides in pokemon and people's shadows and use them to learn and get better at fighting than they are, generally coping martial arts :P

24 Answers

3 votes

Lombre's name origin says it comes from Lotus and Sombrero. I was thinking it could also come from the Spanish word for "man" which is Hombre (pronounced sort of like ohm'-breh) which rhymes with how I say Lombre at least. And Lombre does look kinda like a stereotypical Mexican dude with the sombrero and all. (I've been taking Spanish class recently which is why I thought of it.)
Also with Servine, it says the origin is serpent and vine. But I had another thought. The next evolution after Servine is Serperior, the regal pokemon. Servine is a lot like the word Servile which relates to slavery, or servitude, and I think that could be a part of the name origin. I feel it would be a logical evolution; the humble servant, to the regal ruler, or leader.

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3 votes

Another possible origin for Genesect is Genesis, which means 'beginning' and Genesect, according to the BW2 Pokedex, "existed 300 million years ago."

EDIT: I believe Pyroar's name comes also from 'Pyro', "A person who has a compulsion to set fires; a pyromaniac."

Dragonite may also come from Dynamite, which kinda makes sense (though it's a bit of a stretch), as Dragonite is very powerful and can be very destructive.

Also, "Flabra" comes up as "blast" on Google Translate. While that could refer to a blast of wind, a blast is spontaneous and rough, ending a quickly as it began, and a breeze is soft and gentle, often continuing for a long time. And so, I do not believe that is the "Fla" in "Flabebe." Perhaps "Flower" is the "Fl" at least, and this would make sense, as Flabebe are found holding flowers.

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One of the few that I honestly agree with xD
Era can't agree wit dnight because he is friendly as it says in the dex that they guide ships to shore
True, but he doesn't learn Outrage for nothing.
Also, dynamite comes from the Greek word that means 'power.'
The Flabébé idea, now that I've read it, makes a lot of sense.
3 votes

A Bold word means I think I'm right; an italicized word means it's just a theory of mine. From most confident to least confident:

Politoed: you should probably include poly, meaning many, and toed (many-toed), or having many toes. This is because the transformation from a pollywog into a toad involves it growing toes, just like is does in the evolution.

Carracosta: tirtouga is based on the Spanish word tortuga, yet for carracosta it says it comes from Latin. The word costa means the same thing in both languages, so it is more likely that they were based off of the same Spanish language.

Whimsicott: It says whimsy, but it should be whimsical in my opinion. They mean the exact same thing, but whimsical fits the name better.

Litleo: The lit- part of the name could be based upon having a lit fire.

Deerling: It could be based off of darling as well as the other two deer and -ling.

Vivillon: It's probably vivify, but I think it comes from vivid since it has vivid colors. It could be one or the other, really.

Lampent: For some reason, whenever I think of this, I think of lament. I don't even think it's right, but that's what I have. Cheers!

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3 votes

Wigglytuff's origin is not Tough, it's Tuft. Seriously, it does have a tuft sitting atop her head.

The Golems could be named after Reggie, who created them.
The "eus" in Arceus could be Zeus, who is the king of all Greek gods and goddesses. Arceus is -- surprise surprise -- a god.

Chesnaught could be Juggernaught, which can either mean
A) Extreme power
B) A really strong dude.
Sure, use has really taken a blow ever since the start of the twentieth century and is at an all-time low ever since 2010, but just because not many people use the word means it couldn't be possible.

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I think 'espeon' is potentially more a pun on "ESP" (extra-sensory perception).

From Wikipedia: "ESP or extrasensory perception is perception occurring independently of sight, hearing, or other sensory processes. People who have extrasensory perception are said to be psychic."
3 votes

Gengar
Gengar's current entry is just doppelgänger, which is usually a shadow or ghost that resembles a person. While this fits with Gengar's Pokédex entries, Gengar's name is likely also derived from gjenganger, a type of ghost from Scandinavian mythology.

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3 votes

(I'm too lazy to read every single other answer, so sorry if this was already posted)

Bayleef's name also originates from a spice called 'Bay Leaf'. Not just bay trees and leaves.

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3 votes

Zygarde I think you are missing one part of "Zygarde". It should be zygote, (a diploid cell resulting from the fusion of two haploid gametes; a fertilized ovum, considering the fact there's 2 Zygarde cores in XYZ, but that's far from canon and I may be using the wording wrong, I don't know. I just copied and pasted this.) Z, and garde.

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2 votes

I'm almost sure that Malamar's amar comes from the spanish word calamar (squid) as opposed to calamari.

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Calamari also squid, anyway.
calamary=squid. But I removed the "deep-fried" bit, it's unnecessary. Also the Spanish word most likely comes from the Greek.
2 votes

Feebas

It says its made up of Feeble and Bass, but isn't it also made up of Seabass, a type of fish?

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that what the bass is referring too, the seabass
You play Seabass at the sea?
I play Dub at the Step, nub
I chase mouse with  some House ö3ö
OK I didn't realize that.
2 votes

As a native Japanese speaker (who played the first two games in Japanese), I feel compelled to point out the following:

Pikachu
"Pika" is from pikapika, the Japanese onomatopoeia for sparkling (like electric sparks). This one was actually confirmed by Tajiri himself. The "chu" part is correct (although specifically, it's the sound a mouse makes).

Nidos
It is often thought that the "nido" comes from Cnidocyte (which anybody who's taken Bio 2 should know). "Ran" in Japanese can mean "orchard." I also feel the "rhino" thing is a little dubious, as in Japan the word for rhinoceros is sai. But then again, I don't have a better alternative so who knows.

Golduck
I just want to point out that the "gold" thing may be because psychic stuff in Pokemon is often symbolized with gold, like the Gold Badge (Japanese Marsh Badge).

Gyarados
Almost definitely not "gyre" (Gyarados is his original Japanese name). May be from gyakusatsu (mass slaughter), and dosu (onomatopoeia for puncturing, probably flesh in this case).

Lapras
While he is based off the Loch Ness monster, the name is probably from either lapis lazuli or Laplace.

Mew/Mewtwo
Doubtful it's from the cat noise, as "mew" is not an onomatopoeia for cats in Japan. Possibly from mutant.

That's all I got for now.

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Referring to the Golduck one, Gummis for Psychic types (PMD) are Gold Gummis
2 votes

You haven't put any of USM Pokemon in, so wynaut?

Stakataka- The words Stack and Attack, whereas the Japanese is a repetition of the word Lay, like laying bricks.

Blacephalon- Blast and cephalo- meaning head. Its Japanese name (ズガドーン) Zugadōn means "head goes boom". Fitting :P

Poipole-

Poipole is a combination of poison and pole. It is also a play on purple. Bevenom is a combination of baby or bébé (French for baby) and venom

Source

Naganadel-

Naganadel is a combination of Nāga and Nadel (German for needle). Āgoyon may be a combination of 顎 ago (jaw), ago (Italian for needle), 四 yon (four), and dragon or 용 yong (Korean for dragon).

Source

Zerora-

Zeraora may be a combination of زر zarra (Arabic for to beam/glitter/shine, to encroach upon one's enemy) and 虎 tora (Japanese for tiger) or tora (Faroese for thunder).

Source

These are some I think are wrong (I am yet to check the full list, and will not post repeats from other answers)

Xurkitree- Needs Tree. If you look at it in the ultra plant, it looks like a tree. Also worth noting: its wires are kept together by bands that have leaves, and its Japanese name has (樹木 jumoku) tree in it.

Kartana- Need something paper related, it has that in every other language. Like charta (Latin for paper) could be it.

Solgaleo- May have Galileo in it

Vikavolt- Vice, maybe, but every language uses stag beetle and cannon. It is more likely (or both) wicga (Old English for insect).

Rowlet- more likely round rather than arrow; the Japanese is wood & owlett.

Diancie- May also have fancy/Pixi in the etymology

Goomy- (Sticky and goo) umm gooey?

Sliggoo- (Slime, Goo) maybe slug too?

Carbink- (carbon, clink) could also be carbuncle (gemstone), and carat (still carbon). This also makes more sense because other languages use carbon, small, stone, diamond, and carat in the name.

Spritzee- May have Fee- German for fairy

Fennekin- Kin may reference kindle and not kin

Chespin- you put porcupine, very wrong... every language uses hedgehog, chestnut, and needle. It could be pin(needle), urchin(old term for hedgehog), chinkapin (chestnut species), or spina - Latin for Thorn.

Genesect- Being the Paleozoic Pokemon and is Old and Ancient, Genetic could also be Genesis- This both looks more accurate and makes as much sense

Meloetta- Etta is a feminine Italian suffix meaning small, which could refer to it being small and have a female appearance.

Kyurem- may have either 無 (mu) meaning nothing, or 零 (rei) meaning zero. This makes sense because Reshiram and Zekrom are based of off ying and yang, while Kyurem represents wuji, the absence of ying and yang.

Axew- Askew makes little sense; it is more likely hew (to chop a material with a tool) or chew.

Eelektross- more likely boss instead of gross, especially when the Japanese has Don (latin for Lord) in it.

Swanna- May have Ballerina as well as swan.

Archen- Rather than chicken, it is more likely the Archean geological eon.

That is as far as I got; will check more soon :P

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2 votes

I don't know which ones are already answered here, but I didn't find any for Lucario, here are some more.

Lucario: Lu - "Lupine." Might also be related to "orakaru," which said syllabicly-backwards, is Japanese for "oracle." Also references Cairo, a city in Egypt (Lucario was based on an Egyptian god).
Bellossom: "Bellissima" (Latin for "most beautiful")
Politoed: Has fairly big toes. "Toed."
Karrablast: Carapace
Absol: "Ab" and "Sol": away from sun (hence the Dark-Type). Maybe related to "absent."
These are a bit of a stretch:
Celebi: might be related to "celebrate," as Celebi travels through time to only find the most pleasant places to dwell.
Dialga: "Dial" may refer to "Sundial," an ancient way to measure time.
Darkrai: "Cry" (nightmares make people cry)

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Absol is really "evil type". It's called "dark type" in English only because it was translated kind of badly.
1 vote

for furfrou you have fur and frou-frou, when i think it should be fur and bichon frise which is a dog with poofy hair and may have a better connection.

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1 vote

I think Arceus can get his name from the root word Archea- which means ancient, i pronounce his name as arc-A-us which sounds like archea

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1 vote

Rampardos
another entry that would fit this pokemon's name origin would be Ram, as in the siege engine that is used for breaking down walls, in reference to the ram-like cap on Rampardos's head

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I think "rampage" fits this more.
1 vote

Regarding Cranidos and Rampardos
I don't think very many dinosaurs' scientific names end with "-dos". It's probably just a random, unexplained syllable, or it could be from "dosu" which apparently is the onomatopoeia for puncturing flesh in Japanese. The puncturing in Japanese explanation works nicely for Ariados.

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1 vote

Geodude
Probably from 'geode', which is a much closer-looking word, and Geodude looks slightly like a geode (a cluster of minerals).

Jynx
Also from 'Lynx' (a snow animal), hence the ice type

I think your Cloyster reasoning is a little off: 'cloister' is not just a noun but a verb meaning to seal oneself away, which seems more relevant than a religious building. (Note the verb is derived from the noun anyway)

Exeggcutor
Also a little off. An executor is not an exterminator! It is a person who carries out a will, or more generally brings something about. You are thinking of the word 'executioner'.
Exeggcutor might be 'executor' because it has legs now, so can go do things, or because it's a psychic type, so has a role in future events... a bit of a stretch, but so is the word 'executioner'

Slowbro is also related to the word 'ouroboros'. Oura = tail, Boros = eating. Pretty relevant!

Some less likely ones:

  • Cubone's head is white and round like a cue ball
  • Marowak is Cubone's mother and starts with 'ma' (or 'ma-ternal')
  • Tangela is a plant, a tangelo is a type of fruit
  • Magmar has the word 'mar', to cause damage or ruin
  • Pinsir has the word 'sir', title of a knight, and Pinsir is armoured
  • Golbat might also be 'gulp bat' because of its huge mouth
  • Diglett looks a tiny bit like a piglet
  • Snorlax almost has the word 'relax' in it, but 'relax' has the same root as 'lax' which you already mention
  • Graveler has legs now that it's evolved. Traveler?
  • Moltres has 'molt', which birds do
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- geode comes from 'geo' so it's the same.
- lynx are not specifically snow animals, some live in snowy areas by others don't.
- an executor is also 'a person who executes'

I've updated Magmar, but I don't really agree with any of the others, sorry. They're all just coincidences.
1 vote

First, the "tyrannosaurus" in Tyranitar's name origin needs to be capitalized because it's a scientific name. Second, Golbat more likely comes from gollop (to eat greedily, as Golbat greedily sucks blood) than ghoul.

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1 vote

It is correct that Makushita is a division in sumo (the third highest), but Hariyama is not. Most likely, the "Hari-" part comes from "harite" which means a slap and is used in sumo. "Yama" is "mountain", frequent suffix in sumo shikona (ring names). Hence my own user name!

Also, Rhydon, I think also sounds like "right on", the way that it charges!

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0 votes

After years with no activity on my suggestion, I was surprised to get an update from here, but I digress.

Anyways, I suggested that "acrobat" be Crobat's name origin, but it was dismissed because all other names in other languages reference its cross shape. While that is a fair point, I still believe it's highly likely they used that opportunity to make a clever pun out of Crobat's name, with it being "acrobat" minus the "a", with Crobat being known for it's agility, like an acrobat, while it may also be combining "cross" and "bat" to reference the shape.

Coincidence while making a boorish word combination? Or clever intentional pun? I'd like to think the Pokemon name creators did the latter, and that the acrobat explanation is worth adding on to the etymology post.
Thank you.

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