Whether you remember playing with legos, Legos, LEGOS, LEGOS®, or LEGOS® as a child, you probably never considered why they're named that, and if you did, you probably thought it was an acronym. Well, not really. As you will have noticed, there are a lot of stylistic differences in how to spell it, based on varying degrees of legality, but all that stems back to when Ol Kirk Kristiansen, the Danish CEO of the to-be The LEGO Group, chose LEGO as the brand name. This was all after lengthy experimentation with different names, but eventually the company settled on a play on the Danish phrase leg godt, which meant "play well". So LEGO is not an acronym- more of a contraction, and barely one at that. I thought that was cool. Ironically, none of the creators realized that lego also meant "I put together" in Latin, showing the truly serendipitous nature of language. Leg is from Old Norse leikr, from Proto-Germanic laikaz, with the same meaning. Godt is clearly connected to English good and German gut, and would come from Proto-Germanic godaz, which is reconstructed as being from Proto-Indo-European ghedh, meaning "unite".
Adam Aleksic is a 221-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard University in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd