Generating business name ideas with Bash and Linux

I’m setting up a small side-business selling wall art prints in the UK, and needed to think of a short, reasonably unique name.

After Googling for word lists and name generators, I thought it would actually work best to get Bash to generate a list of name ideas for me, keeping the words to a limited length and randomising them to avoid fatigue when reading the list.

The above can be done with this command on Ubuntu Linux:

cat /usr/share/dict/british-english \
	| awk '$0 ~ /^[a-z]{3,6}$/' \
	| awk '{print toupper(substr($0,1,1)) substr($0,2);}' \
	| awk '{print $0" Wall Art"; print "Wall Art "$0}' \
	| shuf \
	| awk '{print ""; print "   "$0}' \
	| less 

The script uses the built-in /usr/share/dict/british-english dictionary file to get a list of words, filters them to those starting with “a” or “w”, filters out words containing non-letters, filters those shorter or longer than required, capitalises each word, prints each word “Wall Art” before and after it, then shuffles the list and pipes it to less for scrolling.

You can tweak various parameters to try different things, e.g. words starting with different letters.

99% of the results are not good business names (and a lot are pretty funny), but it’s just a case of scrolling through the list to spot ones that might have potential to get a short list for consideration.

Tech mentioned