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9 votes

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 31/10/16: You can also post etymology for the new Sun/Moon names if you like.

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edited by
umm, the electrode 1 is spelled exactly the same as 1 of the name origins.
That's because the Pokemon Electrode and the electrical conductor electrode are spelled the same way.
re: etymologies:

Golduck is Gol + Duck. Like Golbat.  Not "Gold"
Who told you that "Golbat" came from "gol"? "Gol" isn't a real word.
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.

46 Answers

2 votes

Zygarde I think you are missing one part of "Zygarde". It should be zygote, (means a fusion made out of cells) Z, and garde.

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1 vote

I think tyrant is part of tyrantrums name as despot (the type of pokemon it is) is basically a tyrant.

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that's the etymology for tyrannosaurus anyway, so I'm not sure it matters.
The obvious origin is Tyrannosaurus and Tantrum, so there really isn't a way to tell.
This was mentioned on a previous post about Tyranitar. MeloettaMelody is correct, 'tyrannosaurus' comes from 'tyrant' so that's technically already included.
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

For Braixen, it says
braise to fry lightly over heat
Braising is actually more of a pot roast.

...typically, the food is first seared at a high temperature, then finished in a covered pot at a lower temperature while sitting in some (variable) amount of liquid (which may also add flavor). Braising of meat is often referred to as pot roasting, though some authors make a distinction between the two methods, based on whether additional liquid is added. - Wikipedia

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1 vote

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

"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).

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.

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).

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).

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

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
1 vote

Concerning Quilfish
the definition for quill that is used doesn't fit the pokemon
"quill: a writing implement" I would think that the definition for quill that is used for Cyndaquil would be a better fit for Quilfish

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1 vote

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

In Tyrantrum's Pokedex it says that it behaved like a king. A tyrant is a cruel ruler so part of the origin of Tyrantrum's (and maybe Tyrunt's) name could be tyrant.

The "fro" in Furfrou may be for afro, which Furfrou's hairstyle seems to be.
On Mgmortar's page, it says "magmar" instead of "magma."
Dialga has "dial" in it, a dial is the face of a clock.
Litleo has "lit" in it, which is the past-tense of light, which means to make something start burning.
The "Volcan" in Volcanion is most likely for volcano, while the "canion" part might be for cannon.
Hoopa has "hoop" in it, Hoopa has a few hoops on it's body.
The "dia" in Diancie is for diamond, while the "ancie" part might be for fancy.

(Although the PokeDex pages on the currently revealed Sun & Moon Pokemon aren't complete, I'm going to add these anyway.)

Rowlet has "owlet" in it, an owlet is a baby owl. (Not sure about the "Ro" part)
Litten obviously a combination of the words "lit" and kitten. A kitten is a baby cat, and lit is the past-tense of light, which means to make something start burning.
The "pop" in Popplio might be for pup, which is a baby seal. The "lio" part in Popplio might be for "leo" which is Latin for lion. (Popplio is a sea lion.)

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random late note: Popplio makes bubbles, pop could be them bursting
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

I think Crobat's name is a reference to Acrobat due to the aerial maneuvers that having 4 wings would allow and because of the similarity between the spelling of Acrobat and Crobat.

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1 vote

Adding some names for Sun/Moon. Feel free to correct me if I've got anything wrong.

Rowlet = arrow + owlet
Litten = lit + kitten
Popplio = pop? + leo?

Dartrix = dart + tricks? (or: in geometry, -trix also conveys the sense of ''straight line'')
Torracat = tora (tiger in Japanese) + cat
Brionne = brine? + ballonne (ballet step)

Mudbray = mud + bray
Mudsdale = mud + Clydesdale
Stufful = stuff + ???
Bewear = bear + wear + beware

toge = thorn in Japanese
maru = round in Japanese

brux = to clench/grind one's teeth
fish = fish o_O

Jangle (It's based on a Shakujo, a Buddhist Monk Staff with metal rings, that were rung and shaken to ward off spirits.)
"Mo'o" is Hawaiian for dragon

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edited by
Stufful is stuff and full.
Full in what sense?
full of stuffing
Ooh! Nice pickup on Jangmo-o's name.
1 vote

I dunno if these have been mentioned yet, but I'm gonna just post some here.
I'm just gonna edit more in whenever I think of them.

Mimikyu: I'm almost 100% sure that it's "mimic you", since it sounds a lot like that and it mimics Pikachu.
Salandit: Salamander + Bandit
Salazzle: Salamander + Dazzle(?)
Minior: Mini + Meteor (or Ore?)
Cosmog: Cosmos + Smog
Cutiefly: Cute/Cutie + Fly
Ribombee: Ribbon(?) + Bee + bomb (maybe? The signature move seems to be like a bomb)
Bounsweet: Bounce + ???
Steenee: Mangosteen (Bounsweet is supposed to be a Mangosteen, I think)
Sandygast: Sandy + Ghast
Pallosand: Palace + Sand
Toucannon: Toucan + Cannon
Dewpider: Dew + Spider
Araquanid: Aqua + Arachnid
Mareanie: Marine + Meanie(?)

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Some of my thoughts:

"Pallosand" could also be "pile-o-sand"
Tsareena is most likely a mixture of mangosteen, queen, and tsarina (a Russian monarch, like Tsar/Czar)
- sigh - Bounsweet is obviously Bounce + Sweet.
Just realized this: Toxapex=Toxic+apex (like apex predator)
1 vote

Some more Sun/Moon Etymology:
Pikipek: onomatopoeia for a woodpeckers pecking
Trumbeak: trump+beak?
Toucannon: Toucan+cannon
Yungoos: Young+mongoose
Gumshoos: Gumshoe+mongoose?
Grubbin: Grub+grubbing
Charjabug: Charge+bug
Crabrawler: Crab+brawler
Crabominable: Crab+abominable
Rockruff: Rock+rough
Lycanroc: Lycanthrope+rock
Wishiwashi: wishy-washy
Mareanie: marine+meanie
Dewpider: dew+spider
Araquanid: arachnid+aqua
Fomantis: faux+mantis
Lurantis: Lure+mantis
Morelull: morel+lull
Shiinotic: shine+narcotic?
Salazzle: salamander+dazzle
Comfey: comfy
Oranguru: orangutan+guru
Passimian: pass+simian
Wimpod: wimp+isopod
Golisopod: goliath+isopod
Type: Null: should be pretty obvious
Komala: comatose+koala
Turtonator: turtle+detonator
Drampa: dragon+grampa
Solgaleo: sol+gailieo
Nihiliego: nil+ego
Xurkitree: circuitry
Celesteela: celestial+steel
Kartana: katana
Guzzlord: guzzle+lord

There are some that I have a hunch on or know part of the name, but I can't put them in here without not knowing for certain. Please let me know if any of these are wrong or need more clarification.

answered by
Trumbeak: Trumpet+beak (it's the Bugle Beak Pokémon and its Pokedex entries describe it as a noisy nuisance)
Rockruff: Ruff is also a dog sound
Shiinotic: Shiitake+hypnotic?
Solgaleo: Likely also comes from "leo" since it's a lion
Nihilego: Nihilistic? The Pokédex says that people infected by it turn violent
Xurkitree: It might come from "tree" since it resembles one
I thought Trumbeak was Trombone + Beak. Oh well,  I was proved incorrect by two people.
1 vote

Here's mine!~

Cutiefly: Cutie (tiny cute word.) + fly (explains its bug-typing.)
Lunala: Luna (spaninsh for "moon") + Ala (spanish for wing)
Litten: Light (fire makes light, sooo..) + Kitten (because it IS a kitten)
Popplio: Pop (sound that makes when you pop a balloon) + leo (sea-lion or something..).
Lurantis: Lure (luring) + Mantis (bug.).
Toxapex Toxic (Poison) + apex (the highest point of achievement; a climax.).

That's all I have.
Hope I helped! c:

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You mean Lit and Kitten for Litten.
1 vote

For Bounsweet, it is "bounce" (it is shown bouncing many times) and sweet (it smells sweet, and there are even references in the anime and pokedex that it smells like a sweet fruit). For Palossand, it is probably "palace" (from the sandcastle theme) and "sand" (it is a sandcastle, after all). For Incineroar, it is incinerate (to burn to ashes) and roar (a wild cat sound). Primarina, it may be prime (its signing is prime), marine (having to do with the sea/ocean), and marina (a harbor for boats). For Crabominable, it is crab and abominable (from the Abominable Snowman). Cutiefly is cutiepie and fly. Ribombee is ribbon (the ribbon around its neck) and bee. Marieanie is Marine and anemone. Salazzle is salamander and dazzle. Stufful is probably stuffed and little. Type: Null is explained in the game, about how it's original name was Type: Full, but it went berserk, so it was changed to Type: Null. Silvally might be silver (a common metal in alchemy to change things from one substance to another, like it's RKS system), and something else. Minior is meteor and mini/minor (they are small). Turtinator is turtle (it looks reptilian) and incinerator. Togedemaru is toge (spikes), and other things. Kommo-o may be Komodo, as in the Komodo Dragon. The Tapus are from the Polynesian word for something holy, and the animal they represent. Tapu Koko is the sound a rooster makes, Tapu Lele is part of the Hawaiian word for butterfly, and Tapu Bulu is from bull. Cosmog is cosmic and smog (it is, basically, a mini-nebula/cloud of stardust). Solgaleo is sol- (latin root word for sun) and Galileo (proved the Sun is the center if the Solar System). Lunala is luna- (root word for moon) and another word. Buzzwole is buzz and swollen (it does look a bit... puffy). Celesteela is celestial and steel. Kartana is Katana. Guzzlord is to guzzle (drink or eat greedily) and lord. Magearna is Magnet (?) and gear. Marshadow is shadow, and another word. I didn't do some Pokemon because they were obvious (e.g. Mimikyu) and some were already told. In the original Pokedex, Exeggcute is Egg, Execute, and cute (it does look cute). Crobat is probably not cross (because it just evolved with friendship, so it should be the opposite of mad), but maybe Acrobat (aerobics is one of it's signature moves) and bat. Lombre is hombre (man in Spanish) and lotus. Arceus might be Arch, which is the authority of power (as stated in the Pokedex), and it may also be Zeus or Jesus (the end of the names are similar to Arceus'). Hope I helped!

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edited by
Palossand: Could also be a play on words as it sounds like "pile of sand"
Ribombee: Also "bomb" (its pollen puffs are explosive), and it's more likely to be a bee fly than a bee
Turtonator: "Detonator" sounds more fitting since it explodes
Solgaleo: Likely also from "leo" as it's a lion
0 votes

Paras and Parasect's page says

an annoying insect or bacteria

Since "bacteria" is a plural noun, it should be changed to

an annoying insect or bacterium


an organism that lives on a host organism and grows at the host's expense

to be more accurate.

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0 votes

Pikachu's name might have come from the animal "Kinkajou". You pronounce it alike, and they also look somewhat alike as well. This isn't confirmed, but I'm pretty sure that's where part of Pikachu's name came from.

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The kinkajou doesn't look a lot like Pikachu, the only thing that they have in common is the U at the end. Pikachu is a mouse while the kinkajou is similar to a raccoon.
They are both rodents,  and if you search up how you pronounce it, it sounds like "Pikachu". They also both have long tails.
0 votes

i hope this has not been entered but

Electrode "electrode" is part of the name origin and it is electrodes whole name. what this means is to get rid of "explode" in the name origin.

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Just because electrode is part of Electrode's name origin doesn't mean that other words can't be in the name origin
So what you're saying is that it's purely coincidental that "electrode" sounds like "explode", and doesn't have a relationship with the Pokemon? It's a fair point, but "explode" does make a lot of sense with the Pokemon, and so I think it's worth mentioning. I could even argue that "electricity" and "explode" is better than "electrode", since electrodes aren't circular objects like the Pokemon is.
0 votes

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

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)

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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