Fun fact: Nintendo was originally founded in 1889, which means it's about to turn 130 years old. Obviously, they weren't selling Switches and The Legend of Zelda; at the time it was just Japanese hanafuda cards, which became really popular and help grow the company into the gaming conglomerate it is today. The reason for naming the company was never made clear, but the original kanji could have two interpretations. The most prominent theory is that it means "leave luck to heaven" (which could be a reference to both the luck you can have in the cards and the luck the creator wanted for his company). In this interpretation, the word would come from Japanese ninkyo, meaning "chivalry", and ten, meaning "heaven". The other school of thought place Nintendo's etymology in the phrase "the temple of free hanafuda". I must stress, however, that neither of these origins are confirmed, due to a lack of primary sources.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.