17 Company Names That Have Secret Meanings
Ingenuity, chance, and even a typo led to the names of some of the world’s best-known brands.
British brothers Joe and Jeff Foster named their new athletic wear company in 1958 after finding the term “rhebok” in a South African dictionary that Joe Foster won during a race as a child. The term refers to a type of antelope.
The inventor of Rolex, Hans Wilsdorf, was looking to make an elegant, yet precise, wristwatch. He wanted a name that was easy to say, worked in different languages, and looked good on the watches. He settled on Rolex in 1908.
Samsung founder Lee Byung-chull wanted his company to last as long as the stars in the sky. So the name of the electronics manufacturer means “three stars” in Korean. Just be sure to give your phone a break. These are the 17 famous company names you’re probably mispronouncing.
Company co-founder Gordon Bowker has said that while brainstorming names, someone brought out a map that featured the old mining town of Starbo. That may have led him to think of Starbuck, the first mate in Herman Melville’s book, Moby Dick. Find out more about the origin of the name Starbucks.
Founded in Germany in 1937, Volkswagen was a pet project of Hitler’s, who wanted more affordable and accessible cars. The company name translates as “the people’s car.” The Beetle was the first brand to really take off in the United States.
The Swedish car maker was originally founded as a ball-bearing company, and its name reflects those origins. Volvo comes from the Latin word “volvere,” which means “I roll.”
This chain of convenience stores has a dual identity. It’s named for the part of Pennsylvania where the company had its first dairy farm. But Wawa is also the Native American word for a Canadian goose, which was featured on the chain’s logo. Next, don’t miss how 11 iconic stores got their name.