paku paku taberu is the etymological root of pac-man.  taberu means to eat.  stuff in front of it makes it more specific (and is usually doubled up like that).  paku paku taberu means to "gobble down."

thanks, cuthalion

~

though i originally heard this from cuthalion, i put out a small search for some real evidence.  i won.  neener neener. :)  an interview with the creator himself can be found at the link at the end of this node, do a search for 'paku' to find it quicker.  i'll include the excerpt from it right here though:

The Japanese have a slang word - paku paku - they use to describe the motion of the mouth opening and closing while one eats. The name Pac Man came from that word.

Pac-Man designer, Toru Iwatani  < http://retrogamer.merseyworld.com/iwatani.htm >

* by the way, in japanese, u's at the end of words are pretty much not pronounced.
I heard that our favorite medicated video game character was originally going to be Puck-Man due to his circular shape. The name was changed to "Pac-Man" to avoid the defacement which would obviously befall the machines if the game had kept its original name.

Looks like this bit of entertainlingly false video game lore belongs alongside Luigi in Super Mario 64, Mortal Kombat's "nude-alities", and other such rumors.

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