How Programming Languages Got Their Names

by Muhammad Talha
How Programming Languages Got Their Names

If you’re in the software industry, you’ve probably heard of several programming languages, such as Java, JavaScript, and Swift. But how did these languages get their names? What does Java have to do with coffee? And how does Swift relate to animals? Read on to the following programming languages list and find out the answers to these questions and more!


Dutch Programmer Guido van Rossum is the creator of Python, he named the language after the British comedy show Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

He didn’t choose the name because he was a fan of the show (he actually wasn’t), but because he wanted a short, unique, and slightly mysterious name. And Python has definitely lived up to its name—it’s used in some of the most high-profile projects in the world, including Instagram, Google, and Yahoo! Plus, it’s so much fun to say.

The word Python comes from the Ancient Greek Puthón, the name of a huge snake that was killed by Apollo.

programming languages list


The programming language Ruby was created in the mid-1990s by Yukihiro Matz Matsumoto.

He was inspired by the Perl programming language and other languages like Smalltalk and Eiffel. Ruby is named after the gemstone, associated with beauty and good fortune.

He also wants to use the name ruby because it was the birthstone of a colleague and in monthly sequence, it comes after Perl. June is Perl and July is Ruby.

Matsumoto felt that his new creation would be a beautiful language.

programming languages list


Java was developed by James Gosling in the 1990s while he was working at Sun Microsystems.

His goal was to create a simple object-oriented programming language that was portable across different operating systems. He chooses to base Java on C and C++, two popular programming languages at the time. Java is known for its cross-platform compatibility and ease of use.

Initially, the project was named ‘Oak’. Oak is a name of a tree, the name was given because of a tree outside one of the developer’s windows.

The Sun Lawyers determined that the name ‘Oak’ is already trademarked, so after a brainstorming session, the word ‘Java’ was then produced.

Java, Jawa in Indonesian, is the name of an island in Indonesia. The island is famous for producing dark and sweet coffee.

Java Island

Java Island – Indonesia


Swift was developed in 2010 at Apple. There is no clear answer to the question that why Apple choose the name, Swift. Someone also a Question on Quora, ‘Is the Swift Programming language named after Taylor Swift?’. But I think that isn’t.

Originally, the Swift was called Shiny, as though “building a shiny new thing”. It had file extension .shiny.

The Word Swift means ‘Moving with great Speed’. Which reflects its Performance as well as development time. Swift is a family of birds that are known for their speed. As the name suggests the logo of the Swift Programming language is of a bird.

programming languages list


JavaScript was created in 1995 at Netscape by its Employee Brendan Eich. The Netscape Web Browser was once the dominant Web Browser. At that time Web Pages were Static. But thanks to Netscape who visualized the dynamic and interactive Web Pages that exist today.

Netscape wants to develop a language that is simple and easy to use. At that time the popularity of the Java Programming language was at its peak, so they pictured the Language as the “Scripting Companion of Java“.

Brendan Eich take most of the syntax from Java and wrote the first version of JavaScript in just 10 days. It was named Mocha.

“I was under marketing orders to make it look like Java but not make it too big […] It’s just this sort of silly little brother language, right? The sidekick to Java.” — Brendan Eich
The Language was initially called LiveScript after being integrated into Netscape. After partnering with Sun, they rename it to JavaScript and touted it side by side with Java.
JavaScript was Advertised as Client-side Language to enhance the Web with Dynamic, Animations, interactions, and several other small automation that could be added to the Web. On the other side, Java was promoted as Professional Tool to develop rich Web Components.


C++ was originally developed at Bell Labs in 1979 by Bjarne Stroustrup.

He wanted to create a language that would allow programmers to write programs faster than they could use existing languages. In addition, he wanted to make sure that his language would not become obsolete over time.

To do this, he decided to use the C programming language as the basis for his new language. C++ is now considered to be a general-purpose programming language.


PHP was created in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf. Originally it was known as the Personal Home Page Construction Kit.

When Lerdorf wrote several CGI programs in C, which he used to maintain his Personal Homepage. He then extended it to work with Web Forms and to Communicate the Web with Databases, called his implementation ‘Personal Home Page’ or ‘PHP’.

It is now accepted as the initials for PHP, Hypertext Preprocessor. PHP is a powerful server-side language and is the core of the biggest CMS on the Web ‘WordPress’.

 Bottom Line

As you read the above programming languages list and their interesting naming history, From where do the names of the popular programming languages come?

If you want to add something we’ll love to hear it and will add it to the above programming languages list.

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