Meta-PokéBase Q&A
13 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!

Please post answers instead of comments. Thanks.

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On the Nickit name origin, "nick" means steal in the UK and "it" just means it. So the name would be "Stealit" technically for its origin name.
Here's some of what I think might be errors:
Snom - Snow + Nom (slang for bite)
Hatenna - Hat + Antenna
Drizzile - Drizzle + Reptile
Hatterem - Hat + Rim (a part of a hat)
Thwackey - Thwack + Monkey
Dottler - Dot + Beetle
I don't see how Dottler is Dot+Beetle.
I was thinking more of the 'tle' part of Dottler. Actually, now that I think about it, it could have something to do with the Doppler effect.
And also the Doppler radio

50 Answers

6 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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4 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.
Pyro is just a prefix that means fire, not necessarily a pyromanic.
For example: pyrokinetic (pyro: fire kinetic: controlling) pyrophoric (self-combusting).
4 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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4 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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4 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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4 votes

Silvally: could also have inspirations from Silicon Valley in California. The name fits, and with it having memories that look like a DVD (which is reminiscent of technology and what Silicon Valley is famous for) makes me believe that it does have a part in Silvally's name. I was shocked when I looked at Silvally's etymology and I didn't see Silicon Valley. This isn't saying get rid of Silver and Ally, (because it is Silver and an Ally on the battlefield) just to consider adding Silicon Valley. This is a theory therefore I have no source.

Stonjourner: probably also has some inspiration from Stonehenge. If you look up a picture of Stonehenge the resemblance is uncanny. Here is a little bit about Stonehenge.

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, two miles west of Amesbury. It consists of a ring of standing stones, each around 13 feet high, seven feet wide, and weighing around 25 tons.

Tyranitar: could have some inspiration from Tyrant. Tyranitar is a big burly monster of a pokemon and one of his dex entries says:

Extremely strong, it can change the landscape. It has an insolent nature that makes it not care about others.

Definition of Tyrant:

Tyrant: a cruel and oppressive ruler.

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4 votes

Ariados' name derives from the greek myth about Ariadne. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariadne

Ariadne fell in love with [Theseus] at first sight and provided him a sword and ball of thread

Ariadne is indelibly associated to the thread that Theseus used to negotiate the minotaur's labyrinth, and is associated with weaving and spinning in classical myth.

Proposed addition:

Ariadne A greek myth figure associated with weaving

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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

I noticed in Mew’s etymology, it simply states “a cat sound”. However, I believe that Mew has this name because of the Greek letter “Mu”, which is used in biology as a variable for the mutation rate in population genetics. I believe that this makes more sense that simply a cat sound, but I may be wrong...

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I think the same. Alterantively μ (mu == mew) might have been used as an alternative to ψ (psi == psy[chic]) as the latter would sound too much like psyduck.
3 votes

Orbeetle, although yes it is Orb + Beetle, it also sounds like 'Orbital' which kinda makes sense for a very high-IQ ladybug.

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3 votes

Sceptile's page says scep- derives from scepter. However, scep- is likely Sceptridium, which is a type of fern

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Also possibly from ‘scythe’, a tool that cuts grass alluding to the sharp grasslike appendages on Sceptile’s forearms.
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

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
I believe that Mew has this name because of the Greek letter “Mu”, which is used in biology as a variable for the mutation rate in population genetics. I believe that this makes more sense that simply a cat sound, but I may be wrong...
First time user/reader so sorry if I've missed something old - could Gyarados also relate to Tornado - especially since it is water/flying and has violent water- and rage-type moves?

Finally, the word "gya" is an amalgamation-type word where "G" stands for "giga" and "ya" stands for "years ago", so if there's any indication that Gyarados is an ancient being - including any of its moveset - it's possible that it's an "ancient tornado".
2 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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2 votes

In Nihilego, the "nihil" more likely refers to nothing rather than nihilism. This would make sense, as "ego" is self, and the combination of nihil and ego would reflect the fact that Nihilego and its victims have no consciousness or self-awareness.

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I didn't know this thread existed i would have definitely posted it here
I checked everything on Nihilism and jellyfish, and found nothing. What I did find, however, is that there is a song/band/album/something like that called Nihilist Jellyfish :P
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/RvPkiHPAvMs/hqdefault.jpg

Also, I looked up several definitions of Nihilism and got this:

the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless.
or
extreme skepticism maintaining that nothing in the world has a real existence.

Nihilism: That nothing matters, which may make sense because Nihilego has no real sense of value in anything; nothing really seems to matter for it...

That is pretty much it though. It could also mean both: the Japanese is a combination of void, ego, and being similar; All of the other names use ego and void, hollow, etc, which is like nihilism i. e. not caring/mattering.

TL;DR: It probably is Ego and Nihilist because other languages use ego and void/other words considered synonymous with Nihilism.
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.
2 votes

Awesome list, I learned a lot of cool trivia (and vocabulary lol). Just a few things I noticed to consider:
1. As someone mentioned below, genesect probably comes from genesis considering it was sprung to life from a fossil. I think that's at least worth adding alongside genetics.
2. I think Vivilion comes from vivid, referring to the wide range of colors and patterns it can have
3. The word "marine" is also in Primarina.
4. Xurkitree, and I could be wrong about this, is supposed to look like a christmas tree, or at least the lights put on one. It also roots itself in the ground, so I believe "tree" is worth adding there.
5. Kommo-o is almost definitely a pun on Komodo, of course in reference to komodo dragons.

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I mentioned 1 and 4 in my answer. Glad someone agrees with me. :P

Marina and marine are based off of the same root word. Vivid and vivify come from the same root word.

5 is cool. I think it is worth mentioning. :P
2 votes

Evil should be in Yveltal's roots i mean its the destruction pokemon. Also its name is pronounced Eval-tal.

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It's also tall. It's evil and tall! Evil-tall!
2 votes

In the name Politoed, I suspect that the word "toed" (as in "having toes") is intentional.

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