PIXAR = "To make pictures"

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Pixar Myth No. 4: Steve Jobs Named Pixar

No, he didn't. This one is really wild. Alvy Ray Smith named Pixar, with the agreement of the employees of Pixar, always a collegiate outfit.

Alvy took the name from the Pixar Image Computer, which he and Loren Carpenter had named. Alvy, having grown up in New Mexico, wanted to name the machine with a name like "laser," which he characterized as a noun that looked like a Spanish verb. (Spanish verbs, in the infinitive form, always end in "er," "ir," or "ar."). Alvy suggested as a first try "Pixer," a (fake) Spanish verb meaning to make pictures, and looking a lot like "laser." Loren noted that "radar" was a very high-tech sounding word, so what about "Pixar"? Alvy promptly agreed because this was an alternative Spanish verb spelling and certainly did sound more high-tech. The naming of the Pixar Image Computer happened while the group was still part of Lucasfilm and before Steve had come on the scene.

When the new company co-founded by Ed Catmull and Alvy Ray Smith needed a new name, no two people at (what would soon be) Pixar could agree, and agreement was important to them. Finally, in desperation - the incorporation papers for the new company needed a name - Alvy suggested that the company use "Pixar" since that word had already become strongly associated with the group. Everyone reluctantly(!) agreed. The stand-in name, by the way, while this was being decided, was "Gfx." The new name "Pixar, Inc." went on the founding documents, but the "Inc." was quickly dropped as unnecessary and cluttering.

Steve Jobs had nothing to do with this process at all.