What's in a Name?

The stories behind company and product names.

The reasons behind the names of various businesses and their products make for some fascinating stories. Some of them are even true . . .

  Red bullet Mount Rainier in Washington State was so designated due to the influence of Rainier Brewery.

  Green bullet The name of the San Diego Wild Animal Park's Wgasa Bush Line railway was taken from a crude acronym.

  Red bullet The Baby Ruth candy bar was named after President Grover Cleveland's daughter, Ruth.

  Green bullet The name 'Aspirin' was taken from the terms 'acetylsalicylic acid' and 'spiraea ulmaria.'

  Red bullet The word nylon was formed by conflating the names 'New York' and 'London.'

  Red bullet The flush toilet was invented by Thomas Crapper.

  Red bullet German chocolate cake comes from Germany.

  Red bullet The Japanese corporation known as Sony based its name on an acronym formed from 'Standard Oil of New York.'

  Red bullet The athletic shoe Adidas gained its name from an acronym for 'All Day I Dream About Sex.'

  Red bullet The word 'chad' comes from the "Chadless keypunch," so named after its inventor, a Mr. Chadless.

  Red bullet The discount chain E.J. Korvette took its name from a shortening of 'eight Jewish Korean War veterans,' the founding partners.

  Red bullet Chef Boyardee was a fictional creation whose name was taken from the given names of the company's three founders: Boyd, Art, and Dennis

  Red bullet Baseball's championship is known as the "World Series" because it was originally sponsored by the New York World newspaper.

  Red bullet The Gap takes its name from the gay pride slogan "Gay and proud."

  Green bullet The lubricating spray WD-40 is so named because it was the product of the 40th attempt at creating a water displacing substance.

  Red bullet Coca-Cola's original diet cola drink, TaB, took its name from an acronym for "totally artificial beverage."

  Red bullet Bottled water giant Evian named its product as a sly dig at consumers.

  Green bullet Companies choose domain names with unintendedly risqué double meanings.

  Red bullet Life Savers candy was so named because its inventor's daughter died from choking on a non-holed mint.

  Red bullet UK power company chooses an unfortunate domain name for the web site of their Italian division.

  Green bullet Maybelline, the first commercial mascara, was named for a real person.

  Green bullet Gatorade was named for the Florida Gators, the University of Florida's football team.*

  Red bullet Men's underwear is referred to as 'BVDs' because the term is an abbreviation of the phrase 'Boy's Ventilated Drawers.'

  White bullet 7Up was named for the number of its ingredients.

  Red bullet Baby products company Graco took its name from the acronym for 'God Rewards All Christian Organizations.'

  Red bullet The Milky Way and 3 Musketeers candy bars were given the wrong names when their wrappers were inadvertently switched.

  White bullet The origins of the name of the Canada Dry beverage company.

* Entries marked with an asterisk will display in a separate browser window.

David Mikkelson founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.