Words-worth: Nintendo Wii

'Wii' is a trademark rather than a word, but intriguing nonetheless. Many thought Japanese games company Nintendo had gone mad when it called its new games console 'Wii' (pronounced 'wee'). Yet a great deal of Japanese thinking went into inventing the word, and some of it even makes sense...

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

This family-orientated games machine is aimed at 'we' rather than 'I'; the 'we' sound is available in most languages; and, at one syllable, the name is short enough to make abbreviations unnecessary. Nintendo insists that the odd spelling resembles the machine's stick-like controllers and symbolises people getting together to play. 'Wii will change everything,' the firm declared at its launch. But puns are risky when, in English-speaking countries, 'Wii' also sounds like the nursery word for urine. Perhaps the company thought a hint of playground naughtiness would add to the machine's child-appeal - something it already has in abundance.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

What's the most useful word in a leader’s vocabulary?

It's not ‘why’, says Razor CEO Jamie Hinton.

Why collaborations fail

Collaboration needn’t be a dirty word.

How redundancies affect culture

There are ways of preventing 'survivor syndrome' derailing your recovery.

What they don't tell you about inclusive leadership

Briefing: Frances Frei was hired to fix Uber’s ‘bro culture’. Here’s her lesson for where...

Should you downsize the office?

Many businesses are preparing for a 'hybrid' workplace.

How to make your team more accountable

‘Do as I do’ works a lot better than ‘do as I say’.