The Planets: The Secrets Behind Their Names

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You might know the names of the planets, but where did those names come from? Well…a couple places.
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Mercury

Mercury is named after the Roman God who is Messenger of the Gods, as well as Guide to the Dead, God of Communication, and Thieves. His Greek name is Hermes.
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Venus

Venus is named after the Roman Goddess of Beauty, Love and Sex. Her Greek name is Aphrodite.
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Earth

‘Earth’ goes back to the Old English ‘eorthe,’ and really means ‘the ground beneath us’ more than it means ‘this planet.’ You could say that wherever we go is Earth.
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Mars

No doubt because it is visibly reddish from Earth, Mars is named after the Roman God of War and Farming. He’s usually equated with the Greek God Ares.
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Jupiter

Jupiter is named for the Roman King of the Gods and frankly everything else as well. It wasn’t easy getting that position, as we’ll see with the next two planets.
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Saturn

Saturn was Jupiter’s father. He tried to avoid Jupiter taking over by swallowing all his children, but his wife tricked him and Jupiter was born. Then Jupiter grew up and whacked Saturn, setting free all the others he’d swallowed.
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Uranus

Uranus is named after Saturn’s father, except that here the Greeks and Romans use the same name. Uranus ended up getting castrated by Saturn. Let’s hope the planet has better luck.
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Neptune

Neptune is named after the Roman God, known to the Greeks as Poseidon, who ruled the Seas as well as Earthquakes.
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Pluto

Pluto is named after Roman God of the Dead, and of Wealth. Hades is his Greek counterpart. The Greeks didn’t make sacrifices to him, the thought being that he always gets his in the end.
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Moon

‘Moon’ was ‘m┼Źna’ in Old English, and has cognates going all the way back to Proto-Indo-European where it meant ‘to measure.’
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Sun

‘Sun’ goes back to the Old English ‘Sunne’
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