Business Name Meanings Key Terms

Some key terms for finding out about business name meanings and what's behind them

To those who ask "what's in a name?" a small business or midsize business owner might respond: quite a lot. Many businesses are always looking for effective naming that identifies the business correctly, promotes associations with a product or service and catches the public eye, reaching out to the business target audience. Knowing about some common key terms for business name meanings can help owners and decision makers find those words that best describe a company and help it profit from appropriate naming.


A cognate is a word that looks similar in more than one language. European or "romance" languages cognates are often used in English business names for specific meanings. Cognates are especially useful when a company does business in more than one country and when inter-language research can be effective in promoting a product or service.


An acronym is a word made up of the first letters of other words. These are often used for specific meaning in business names. Acronyms are useful for allowing a long business name to be easily spoken and written, and recognized by the public.


A conglomerate is generally a company that has swallowed up other companies. We use the term conglomerate to refer to a company with very different "arms" or parts that engages in a diversity of fields. What this means for business names is that readers can sometimes glean some of the identities of subsidiaries from the business name if it has been amended to include them.

Associative memory

A kind of recall that is common among humans is associative memory, which is often considered in business name meanings together with the desired effect from the target audience looking for a service or product.
University of Michigan.

Name research tools

Some companies may need to consult with name research companies in order to figure out all of the information about meanings associated with a business name. These companies use name research tools such as databases to find accurate information on a name.


Trademarks are specific phrases or logos that a company makes a claim on for branding and promoting themselves to the public. Often, business names are assigned with an eye toward their use as, or in connection with, trademarks, to build a brand over time.
United States Patent and Trademark Office online.