How Did Ping Pong Get Its Name

How Did Ping Pong Get Its Name

Last modified: October 2, 2023

How did ping pong get its name?

How did ping pong get its name?

Table tennis, commonly known as ping pong, is a popular sport played by millions of people worldwide. The name “ping pong” is often used interchangeably with table tennis, but have you ever wondered how this sport got its peculiar name? In this article, we will dive into the origins of the name “ping pong” and shed some light on its fascinating history.

The Origins of Ping Pong

The game of table tennis can be traced back to the late 19th century in England, where it was initially played as an indoor version of lawn tennis. As the game gained popularity, various names were used to refer to this new form of indoor tennis. However, the name “ping pong” didn’t emerge until later.

The Sound of the Game

The name “ping pong” is associated with the distinctive sounds that the ball makes when it is struck by the players’ paddles. The word “ping” is a representation of the high-pitched sound the ball makes when it bounces off the table, while “pong” represents the lower-pitched sound. These sounds are an essential part of the game and add to the excitement and rhythm of play.

The Trademark Conflict

In the early 1900s, the term “ping pong” was trademarked by the J. Jaques & Son company, a British manufacturer of sports goods. They marketed their table tennis products under the name “ping pong,” which became well-known in England. However, the generic term “table tennis” began gaining popularity internationally, causing a conflict between the trademarked name and the common term for the sport.

The Shift to Table Tennis

In an effort to resolve the trademark conflict, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) was formed in 1926. The ITTF aimed to standardize the sport and establish consistency in terminology. As part of this standardization process, the name “table tennis” was officially adopted, replacing the use of “ping pong” in official competitions and events.

The Legacy of Ping Pong

Although the official name for the sport became table tennis, the term “ping pong” continues to be widely recognized and used colloquially by players and enthusiasts around the world. It has become ingrained in popular culture and is often used in casual conversations and non-professional settings.


The name “ping pong” originated from the distinctive sounds made by the ball during play. While the term was trademarked by a British company, the sport eventually adopted the name “table tennis” to avoid confusion and establish a standardized terminology. However, “ping pong” remains a beloved and familiar name for the sport, reflecting its rich history and widespread popularity.

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