On the Starbucks website, it says that the name of their company was inspired by Starbuck, the First Mate of the Pequod in Moby Dick. This was meant to evoke "the romance of the high seas and the seafaring tradition of the early coffee traders", but apparently there's more to the story. According to Starbucks co-founder Gordon Bowker, the idea came to him when he and some others were brainstorming potential brand names starting with st- (because an advertising executive thought those were more powerful) and somebody pulled out a mining map of the Cascade range. They pointed out a town named Starbo, and that reminded Bowker of the literary reference. The name worked perfectly for another reason, too: Starbuck Island is a coral atoll in the Pacific known for its shipwrecks, and the company's logo is a siren, which lures sailors toward shipwrecks.
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.