Let’s talk about, “History of names of Programming languages”.

We all know that by typing the name of any programming language on Google we can get to learn all about it. Such articles are too mainstream. This article is focused on something more primitive than learning the language, it focuses on how the languages got their name? I would like to talk about, as the title clearly says, “HISTORY OF NAMES”.


Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson were working on Basic Common Programming Language(BPCL) and they added more application features in BCPL and named it as ‘C’ (because C comes after B in the alphabet). Since B language was modified, they didn’t want to give the same name, so it was named as C.

‘c’ comes after ‘b’ of bcpl

There are three levels of programming. At the first level, or level ‘A’ is assembly language. This is an extremely basic language, also called the machine language. The next level above Assembly language is the B level. Fortran is such a language. It stands for Formula Translation. It uses words similar to English. The next level is the C level. It is supposed to be even easier to understand. Thus C is simply named after the level in programming.


C# is often is misunderstood by people and is called as C Pound or C Hash. Let’s see the story behind this name. C# was named as COOL, the full form being C Object Oriented Language but this “cool” was too common they decided to change the name.The question was that which name should be given then? Since C++ was existing, it was decided that the name should be C++++.

Too lengthy and boring right? The name was then finally decided as C-Sharp i.e  C#. Yes, # stands for sharp! The name still sounds cool, doesn’t it? That’s what the creators also thought and hence the name.

“C sharp” was inspired from musical notation

The name “C sharp” was inspired from musical notation where a sharp indicates that the written note should be made a half-step higher in pitch. Also, the four-plus were preserved in the # sign in the grid manner. I found that part really interesting actually.For better understanding refer the diagram of the transition from C++++ to C#.


Sun Microsystems’ chief Scott McNealy will tell you at the drop of a hat that “Java is probably a bigger brand name than Sun itself.” And, of course, he is right. When Time magazine called Java one of the Ten Best Products of 1995 (the only computer-related entry on the list), a new American marketing legend was born. Who’s to say whether Sun’s prized technology would have fared so well if its name had remained “Oak” or “Silk”?

Yes, Java was initially named as OAK after the tree that stood outside of Gosling’s office. The name was already taken by Oak Technologies so it got rejected. There were many name suggestions as the naming was done in a closed room with a dozen of people in it just to suggest a good name for the language. The suggested names were Silk, DNA, Greentalk, WRL(Web Runner Language).But we all know which name got selected!

Java was actually named after the love of the team for coffee.


NO! Python is not named after the snake. But it definitely has got one of the weirdest stories. The inventor of Python, Guido van Rossum wanted a name which was short, unique, and slightly mysterious. He was reading the published scripts from “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” (a BBC comedy series from the seventies, in case you didn’t know).

Guido van Rossum was reading the published scripts from “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” hence the name python

The only name that came to his mind was ‘Python’. So the language is now known as Python. There is not much to discuss it’s name because it is pretty straightforward how it got its name.

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