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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 23rd day of Swimming, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 45 > Articles > NeoPet Species Names: Real Words, Real Meanings

NeoPet Species Names: Real Words, Real Meanings

by lindy_guo

NEOPIA CENTRAL - "The eagle and the stork, on cliffs and cedar tops their eyries build." My eyes literally popped off the page as I read that line of the poem "Paradise Lost" by the famous poet John Milton.

Now wait a second… Eyries? Eyries? EYRIES? Isn't that a NeoPet? What is Milton doing writing about NeoPets? Didn't he DIE 200 years before NeoPets came out?

With conspiracies about Milton's real death floating about in my head, I decided upon a less eye-popping approach to the word "eyrie" and looked up the word in the dictionary. Much to my surprise, "eyrie" is not only the name of that funny-looking NeoPet with the weird lion-like muff and the birdlike beak (no offence to Eyries), but also a word that means "The nest of a bird, such as an eagle, built on a cliff or other high place". Then, much to my farther eye-popping amazement, I found out many other NeoPet specie names are real words, or came from real words.

Flotsam and Jetsam
The first word that came to my attention was "flotsam". "Flotsam", besides being that adorable NeoPet with the big eyes, is actually a real English word that describes cargo that is still floating after a boat sinks. Flotsam the NeoPet is an aquatic NeoPet, so the NeoPet name fits the actual meaning of the word quite well. Jetsams and Flotsams have a predator-prey relationship on Neopets, and since "flotsam" is actually a real word, could it be that "jetsam" is too? After checking the dictionary, "jetsam" is a real word that is used to describe the cargo that is discarded off a ship once when it is in distress. But now, now, be nice - Don't go calling your jetsam friends a "discard" or a "reject"! "Flotsam" and "Jetsam" are also the names of two towers that are in a very famous trilogy of books.

Koi
It is obvious that "koi", the name for Japanese Fancy Carp (Nishikigoi), inspired the name of the fish NeoPet "Koi". The original Koi even bore a strong resemblance to the carp. However, the NeoPet Koi is one thousand times cuter than the Japanese Carp "koi"! Koi is also an acronym for "Koderovka Obmyena Informatsee", a Russian acronym for "Coded Information Exchange." As well, "koi" is also often (incorrectly) used as a short form of the word Japanese word "koibito" in North American anime fandoms. In that sense, "koi" means "beloved" or "loved one". Kois must be very lucky to have such a sweet name!

Lupe and Elephante
A similar case is had in the NeoPet species Lupe and Elephante. The French word "loup", meaning wolf, most likely inspired the name of the wolf NeoPet. The spelling differs, but the phonics is quite alike. "Elephante" is also the French word for (duh) elephant. Hopefully, all Canadian fans picked those up, considering the large, tortuous amount of mandatory French education we are subjected too…

Usul
On the other hand, it is highly unlikely that the Malay word "usul" gave the inspiration of naming the squirrel-like NeoPet 'Usul". The word means in Malay "motion or proposal put forward for discussion". But one can never be sure. Maybe the NeoPet Staff had a very long discussion on what to name the squirrel Neopet, then suddenly someone put forward a "usul" and someone thought 'Hey, that's a perfect name for this squirrel Neopet that we are trying to name!"

Buzz and Grarrl
The NeoPet names Buzz and Grarrl are onomatopoeias. "Buzz, buzz" is obviously the sound a Buzz would make, while the dinosaur-like Grarrl is very likely to roar "grarrl!" at you if you dared to steal his precious Purple Scooter from him.

Acara
ACARA is an acronym for "Availability, Cost, and Resource Allocation". That is just a far cry from the NeoPet Acara.

Aisha
Aisha, besides being that four-eared NeoPet, is the name of a female historical figure in the Middle East. As well, Aisha is also the name of a famous TV personality and the name of a character on an anime show.

There are also some NeoPet specie names that are proper nouns. Such as:

- "Skeith" and "Quiggle" are last names
- "Kiko" is a type of mountain goat
- "Bruce" and "Lenny" are common first names
- "Gelert" is part of the name of a Welsh town called "Beddgelert"
- and "Wocky" from "Jabberwocky"

There are also a lot of NeoPet specie names that are actual plays upon real words in English. For example: Kau (cow), Kougra (cougar), Poogle (poodle), Pteri (pterodactyl), Korbat (bat), Cybunny (bunny), Meerca (meerkat), Blumaroo (kangaroo), Peophin (dolphin), Uni (unicorn), Moehog (mohawk and warthog) and Mynci (monkey).

Guess the NeoPet staff didn't just stick random syllables together after all to name NeoPets. Or maybe they did, but they were just lucky enough to hit upon words that actually mean something. Either way, NeoPet players can increase their vocabularies and possibly earn some words in other languages through NeoPet names. There, that's another reason to use next time your parents yell at you for playing NeoPets too much.

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