This website uses cookies for the best experience

See more arrow More Drag
Menu

Helpful resources when naming your company

Written by

Carl Anchér
Strategist

Updated on

12th January 2024

Reading time

19 minute read


Helpful resources when naming your company


Written by

Carl Anchér
Strategist

Updated on

12th January 2024

Reading time

19 minute read

We help founders name their companies and products all the time. It's a fun but challenging task for anyone, but especially for someone with biases related to being the founder. Here are some resources that can help you get started. If you get stuck, reach out and we'll give you a hand.


Choosing the right name for your company is a critical decision that goes far beyond a mere task – it is a strategic undertaking that shapes your brand's identity and plays a significant role in its future success. This process requires thoughtful deliberation and a strategic approach.

To assist you in this important journey, we've compiled a list of valuable resources. We trust these will provide you with the guidance and inspiration needed to embark on this exciting and pivotal aspect of your brand's creation.

AI Tools for Naming

  • ChatGPT by OpenAI
    • With the advent of advanced generative AI, ChatGPT emerges as a formidable tool for brainstorming and generating names. It is an excellent starting point to get the creative juices flowing, offering unique and intelligent suggestions for naming based on user inputs. Engage with ChatGPT to explore a wide range of name possibilities for your project.

Dictionaries

  • Datamuse
    • This suite of comprehensive linguistic tools, available through websites, mobile apps, and APIs, is designed to facilitate enhanced communication and creative content generation, serving as a valuable resource for effective verbal and written expression.
  • OneLook Dictionary
    • Recognized as a crucial resource during the naming process, OneLook operates as a 'super-dictionary,' encompassing general, slang, medical, and technological definitions. Its advanced search functionality is noteworthy, enabling users to locate related words, phrases, and fill-in-the-blank options efficiently.
  • RhymeZone
    • RhymeZone is not only a proficient rhyming dictionary that organizes results by syllable count and incorporates near-rhymes but also a potent thesaurus. Its 'Find Synonyms' feature stands out as an invaluable tool for naming, offering a solid search mechanism to facilitate the process.
  • Dictionary.com
    • Offering primary and secondary definitions, root words, and related terms, Dictionary.com serves as an excellent initial reference point for users embarking on naming or any word-related searches. Though it provides a foundational understanding, users may need to consult additional resources for comprehensive insight.
  • The Free Dictionary
    • The Free Dictionary is a dynamic search engine and a dictionary, making it ideal for quick and efficient browsing and word generation. Each entry is detailed, providing definitions, synonyms, references, and related words, making it a superb starting point for any word search.
  • Green’s Dictionary of Slang
    • Dubbed the “Five hundred years of the vulgar tongue,” this dictionary allows users to search by specific slang terms. It’s particularly useful for ensuring that a potential name doesn’t carry offensive or inappropriate connotations in various slang contexts.
  • Merriam-Webster
    • A comprehensive resource, Merriam-Webster provides pronunciations, first known uses, definitions tailored for language learners and children, and a robust thesaurus. It's an all-encompassing reference for accurate and thorough understanding of words.
  • Wordnik
    • As the largest online dictionary by word count, Wordnik offers definitions from various sources, example sentences, rhymes, and related words. The advanced search feature is especially useful, supporting regular expression style matching for efficient and flexible word searches.

Thesauruses

  • OneLook Thesaurus
    • OneLook Thesaurus stands out as one of the most potent thesauruses available online. With the ability to search by individual words or phrases, it serves as a reliable tool for swiftly generating lists of words that share loose connections or relationships.
  • Moby Thesaurus
    • Described as a “weird and wonderful reference” abundant with “unusual and enlightening word relationships,” Moby Thesaurus offers entries that are akin to exercises in free association. This resource is invaluable, especially when you find yourself at a creative impasse.
  • Thesaurus.com
    • As a classic and widely recognized internet thesaurus, Thesaurus.com is the go-to resource for many users. If you find the OneLook Thesaurus to be too straightforward or dry, Thesaurus.com offers a more expansive and engaging experience.
  • Etymology Online
    • Diving deep into the roots and histories of modern English words, Etymology Online provides comprehensive information on word origins, dates, and languages. It also includes entries on slang and informal English, making it a rich resource for word enthusiasts.
  • Sketch Engine
    • Sketch Engine works with extensive text samples to identify language patterns as a professional-level linguistic tool, pinpointing what's common, rare, or fading out in language use. It's an insightful tool for understanding language dynamics, available as a paid product with a 30-day free trial option.
  • Phrase Thesaurus
    • Phrase Thesaurus is a unique resource where users can input a word and receive a list of related phrases and sayings. It serves as an efficient tool for exploring expressions connected to a specific term, providing inspiration and insight for writers and language lovers.

Translators

  • Google Translate
    • Google Translate is a handy starting point for exploring translations in various languages. While not always perfectly accurate, it’s continually improving in reliability through ongoing enhancements and community verifications, making it a reliable assistant for understanding and communicating in foreign languages.
  • Linguee
    • Linguee stands out as a high-quality translation dictionary, offering over a million translations across more than 20 languages. It enables users to understand meanings, explore contextual translations, and review usage examples from various web sources, providing a comprehensive view of how words are used in different contexts.
  • Translatr
    • Translatr is a practical tool for translating words and phrases into multiple languages simultaneously. While Nice Translator offers similar functionality, Translatr provides a more streamlined and user-friendly interface, facilitating efficient multi-language translations for users on the go.
  • SDL Trados Studio
    • Recognized as one of the top computer-assisted translation tools, SDL Trados Studio offers sophisticated translation capabilities for professionals. Although it’s a paid service, interested users can explore its robust features through a 30-day free trial, gaining access to one of the industry's leading translation environments.

Word Generators / Other Tools

  • Ngram Viewer
    • Utilizing the extensive corpus of Google Books, Ngram Viewer allows users to compare the popularity and frequency of words over time, offering valuable insights into linguistic trends and historical word usage.
  • Behind the Name Generator
    • Generate random names efficiently with the Behind the Name Generator, offering options based on nationality, fantasy settings, or root words. It's an essential tool for creative projects requiring diverse and authentic-sounding names.
  • Fantasy Name Generator
    • Whether you are exploring fictional universes, various cultures, geographical places, flora and fauna, or pop culture, Fantasy Name Generator is your go-to resource for creative naming. It generates names, words, and descriptions in a myriad of categories, serving as a one-stop-shop for creative inspiration and world-building.
  • Building an Alien Language Forum
    • This specialized forum provides valuable resources for constructing convincing alien languages, serving as a community space where enthusiasts and creators can share insights, tips, and techniques for crafting unique and believable extraterrestrial languages.
  • Mixwords
    • Mixwords is a straightforward yet powerful tool that combines source words to generate random mixes, allowing users to quickly visualize potential name combinations and explore creative possibilities.
  • Panabee
    • Panabee simplifies the search for domain names, app names, and company names by combining input words in unexpected ways, resulting in unique pairings and connections that are both engaging and memorable.
  • Text Mechanic
    • Text Mechanic offers a suite of text manipulation tools, including 'Add Prefix/Suffix into Line' and 'Line Combination Generator', which are particularly helpful for experimenting with various word combinations, prefixes, and suffixes during the naming process.
  • Tools for Creating Ideas
    • Offering methodologies and prompts designed to spark creativity, these tools facilitate innovative thinking and help users generate unexpected word associations and ideas during the naming process.
  • Universal Text Combination Generator
    • This tool is invaluable for exploring how words might fit together, offering a visual representation of potential word combinations and helping users find the perfect name or phrase for various applications.
  • MRC Psycholinguistic Database
    • Though challenging to navigate, the MRC Psycholinguistic Database is rewarding for those looking to create word stimuli with different properties. For guidance on using this database, don't miss this primer.
  • Generic Company Name Endings
    • This list provides generic terms, such as "Partners" or "Solutions", that can be appended to names to avoid potential conflicts with existing entities while crafting a unique and distinguishable company name.

Inspiration (Glossaries, Technical Terms)

  • Phrontistery
    • Phrontistery is a treasure trove of unique and fascinating words, offering a compendium of “rare, cool, and unusual words” that are either obsolete or seldom used in modern language. Its extensive collection of glossaries makes it an inspiring resource for those looking to discover distinctive words and expand their vocabulary for creative naming endeavors.
  • Three Letter Words
    • Initially created as a helpful resource for Scrabble players, this collection of three-letter words is an invaluable tool for anyone looking to generate concise and memorable names from real words. It's particularly useful for brand naming, domain names, and other applications where brevity is key.

Baby Name Generators

  • Mother & Baby Name Generator
    • This user-friendly generator allows you to explore baby names alphabetically or by category. Whether you are searching for classic, trendy, or unique names, the Mother & Baby Name Generator offers a diverse selection to suit various preferences.
  • Random Name Generator
    • Crafted primarily as a tool for fiction writers, the Random Name Generator creates authentic-sounding names randomly, drawing from a broad sample of names from the US Census. With options to adjust the rarity and ethnicity of the names, it’s a versatile tool for generating a wide variety of character names for storytelling.
  • Baby Name Wizard
    • The Baby Name Wizard offers an extensive database of baby names complemented by powerful search and analysis tools. Notably, its NameVoyager feature allows users to explore name trends across different decades, while the platform also provides insightful data analysis blog posts, akin to the style of OKCupid's blogs, helping expectant parents navigate the world of baby naming with ease and confidence.
  • Nameberry
    • With a robust database of over 50,000 baby names, Nameberry is a premier naming resource. Users can explore names based on popularity, trends, and various lists (including cool, classic, and unusual names), and the platform also features a dynamic name generator for additional inspiration.
  • Behind the Name
    • Delve into the origins and history of names with Behind the Name. The platform provides insightful etymology for first and last names, offering tools that showcase top names by country and year. Whether you’re a writer, researcher, or expecting parent, this resource is invaluable for understanding the significance and cultural background of various names.

Geography

  • Alternative Country Names
    • This resource provides a list of former, changed, and alternative names for countries around the world. It's an essential tool for researchers, writers, and historians looking for accurate and historical names of countries that have undergone name changes over time due to political or other reasons.
  • Lists of Islands
    • WorldAtlas provides various categorizations of islands, offering detailed information grouped by oceans, countries, population size, and more. Whether you are a traveler, geographer, or curious learner, this resource helps you explore and understand the diverse islands scattered around the globe.
  • List of Mountain Ranges
    • Peakbagger presents a comprehensive list of mountain ranges on Earth, and even includes information on ranges located on other astronomical bodies. This tool is ideal for mountaineers, researchers, and those with an interest in geography and topography, offering detailed data on various mountain ranges worldwide.
  • List of Life Zones by Region
    • Wikipedia’s entry on life zones provides valuable terms and definitions denoting the convergence of geographic and climatic regions, resulting in distinct zones that support specific forms of life. It’s a must-read for ecologists, environmental scientists, and educators looking to deepen their understanding of the Earth's diverse ecosystems and biogeography.

Mythology

Many of today's most recognizable brands are named for ancient Roman gods and goddesses.

  • Greek Gods & Goddesses
    • Here, you will find an exhaustive list of Greek Gods, each accompanied by information regarding their domains, symbols, and influence in ancient mythology. This resource is especially valuable for those interested in the rich tapestry of stories, morals, and characters found in Greek mythology.
  • Hindu Gods & Goddesses
    • This in-depth resource explores the extensive pantheon of Hindu deities, providing readers with historical context, meanings, and stories associated with each god and goddess. It serves as a valuable reference for those intrigued by Hindu mythology, offering insights into the religious and cultural significance of these divine figures.
  • Japanese Creatures
    • Delve into the fascinating realm of Japanese folklore and mythology with this extensive list of legendary creatures, including demons, ghosts, yōkai, obake, and yūrei. Each entry provides detailed information and illustrations, making it a great source for researchers, writers, and enthusiasts of Japanese culture and mythology.
  • Mythical Civilizations & Places
    • This resource provides a comprehensive list of mythological places and civilizations that appear in various myths, folklore, and religious texts. From the sunken city of Atlantis to the heavenly realms of Mount Olympus, this index is a treasure trove for those fascinated by mythical histories and legendary locales.
  • Norse Mythology, Gods, and Creatures
    • Providing well-researched and reliable information on Norse and Germanic mythology, this site is an excellent guide to the gods, creatures, and myths that have fascinated people for centuries. It’s an essential resource for anyone looking to understand the beliefs and stories of the Norse people.
  • Roman Gods & Goddesses
    • Featuring a complete list of Roman Gods and Goddesses, this resource provides information on their names, realms of influence, and significant backstories. It's an invaluable tool for those interested in the mythology that played a crucial role in the religious and cultural life of ancient Rome, offering insights into the divine figures venerated by one of history's greatest civilizations.

Technical & Trade Language

  • Architectural - Architectural terms along with photos illustrating their meaning. Ex: chancel, soffit, impost, naos
  • Aviation - Aviation related terms and definitions obtained from the Code of Federal Regulations, Federal Aviation Regulations, and many other sources.
  • Biker Slang - Introductory dictionary of commonly used road-motorcycle terminology and biker slang, compiled with the average “citizen” in mind.
  • Cartographic Glossary, University of Texas - Definitions of map and cartographic terms.
  • Cocktails, The Spruce - Terms for mixology, bartending, and cocktails.
  • How to Name a Cocktail - A bartender’s guide to developing cocktail names.
  • Cryptography - An exhaustive list of expert-sounding crypto terms.
  • Electrical Engineering - Very detailed glossary of engineering terms and acronyms.
  • Emergency Services - Terminology for emergency management education and practice.
  • HAM Radio Glossary, ARRL - Amateur radio terms and lingos. Ex: flutter, fox hunt.
  • Hobo Code & Terminology - The glossary primarily documents terms from the1880’s until World War I. Also includes some contemporary hobo, railroad and homeless terms.
  • Leet speak - An alternative alphabet for many languages that is used primarily on the Internet. Useful for character substitution, alternative spellings, usernames, and license plates. See also: Universal Leet Converter.
  • Legal - The official glossary for U.S. courts legal terms. Ex: acquittal, docket, hearsay.
  • Lighthouses - Glossary terms collected from the United States Lighthouse Society and United States Coast Guard.
  • Math words - A comprehensive listing of formulas and definitions from beginning algebra to calculus. Created by a high school math teacher, the explanations are readable for average math students, and over a thousand illustrations and examples are provided.
  • Medical Terminology, GlobalRPh - Definitions, roots, and word building terms for medical terms.
  • Nautical Know-How - A glossary of boating and nautical basics.
  • Politics - A meta-list of wide reaching political terminology, from Cold War terms to political terminology in South Africa.
  • Spycraft - Spy code, terminology, and covert talk.
  • Surfer - The lingo and technical terminology for surfing and surfers. Ex: akaw, hodad, mullering.
  • Thieves Cant - Based on the “Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue,” London in 1811.
  • Space Travel - A glossary covering the real world kind of space travel. Ex: accretion disc, gagarin, mach.
  • Sports - A meta-list of sports terminology, with a few highlights: BaseballBasketballFootball

Popular Culture

Science

  • Names of planets - Names of the planets of the solar system in over 40 languages.
  • Constellations & Stars - Alphabetical listings of constellations and stars.
  • Star names - List of stars with name meanings created by the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.
  • Periodic Table of Elements - Good for technical projects and strong, fundamental names.
  • Arabic star names - Star names with Arabic origins.
  • Weather - Terms more TV meteorologists won’t even know. Ex: altostratus, continuum, ephemeris

Technology

  • Intel codenames - Intel Inc’s internal project and technology codenames (Wikipedia).
  • Google Android - Android’s version naming has been built-on the names of treats and candy for over ten years.
  • Mac OS - With the launch of Mac OS (?) Apple made the decision to celebrate California and name their desktop operating system off of iconic CA landmarks and natural wonders.
  • Glossary of Computer Programming Terms - CS and general programming terms. Ex: scheme, overloading, mutator
  • All TLDs - (domains)A full list of all top-level domains. Useful for generating unique URLs.

Cultural Sensitivity

  • Urban Dictionary - The people’s internet dictionary. Find obscure memes, definitions, and phrases. Useful to check if your selected name is offensive or has an obscure second meaning.
  • Word Safety - Search across 19+ languages to ensure your name isn’t offensive in a foreign language.
  • Forvo - An extensive collection of audio recordings of speakers with various accents and cultural backgrounds pronouncing words.

Trademarks

  • WIPO Global Brand Database - Search trademarks across international jurisdictions.
  • TMview - A global trademark search engine that extends beyond the reach of WIPO’s search offering.
  • Trademarkia - Search millions of U.S. trademarks filed since 1870.
  • Corsearch - A paid trademark screening and clearance search engine.
  • USPTO Trademark Search - The United States Patent and Trademark Office’s official search. Useful tool when vetting candidate names.
  • App Annie - Leader in App Store search. Useful for finding names of existing apps and services that aren’t readily surfaced via web searches.
  • Logobook - Not directly name related but a useful showcase (and well-maintained) of brands, logos, and corporate identities.
  • Brands of the World - Corporate logo search engine. Useful for seeing visual representations of words.
  • Markify - A paid trademark search engine. Offers more sophisticated tools than other free offerings.

Domains & Social

  • I Want My Name - Perhaps the most comprehensive domain search, providing availability status for domains across most of the new TLDs.
  • Domainr - Wide reaching domain search, with auto-suggestions for modifications to find available names. Ex: unti.tl/ed
  • Domain Groovy - A fairly comprehensive list of tools and resources for domain name generation.
  • Char 5 - All currently available 3, 4, and 5 character .com domain names.
  • Domain Maker - A wizard for generating available domain names based on a seed word.
  • Impossibility - Adds random words and letters to domain names. Good for rapid generation and vetting.
  • KnowEM - Incredibly useful tool to check for the use of your brand, product, personal name, or username instantly on over 500 popular social media websites, domains, and trademarks.
  • Name Station - Primarily a domain name search tool, but has a wizard like interface for generating name ideas and does an okay job of offering synonyms, recombinations, etc.
  • Name Mesh - Domain name search, but offers a column based view of different combinations, etc. Also checks social media availability.
  • 800 For All - Search for available toll free numbers, including vanity numbers using word prefixes and suffixes.

Guides & Sprints

  • 3-Step Processes for Naming - Strong yet simple naming exercise from startup designer and founder Ben Pieratt.
  • How to Name a Company in 8 Hours - GV created a short naming sprint based on an session they ran with a portfolio company.
  • How to Name Things by Venkatesh Rao - A lengthy, poetic meditation on the act of naming and numbering as basic human traits to build meaning and organization in our world. Highly recommended.
  • How to Name Things In Programming - A thorough slide deck for naming in code and programming with examples from (non-code) writers including Orwell, King, Hemingway, Gaiman, Carroll, and more. Produced by Software Engineer Peter Hilton.
  • Rewind and Capture Naming Guide ebook - A thorough (free) ebook with a simple step-by-step naming process from positioning and classification to ideation, vetting, and selection. Rich with sourced content including YouTube videos, linked articles, and more.
  • Interbrand’s Naming Handbook - Interbrand provides a naming handbook as part of their client lead generation funnel and, while less detailed than those from other firms, it serves as a good overview for those looking to quickly orient themselves to the process of naming.
  • Catchword’s Naming Guide - A guide aimed at those looking to tackle naming themselves.

Need further helping naming, och branding your company or product, reach out to us.




Keep learning