Why Is Ping Pong Called Ping Pong

Why Is Ping Pong Called Ping Pong

Last modified: September 28, 2023


Ping pong, a popular and fast-paced sport, is loved and played by millions of people around the world. It is a game that requires agility, quick reflexes, and precision. But have you ever wondered why it is called “ping pong”? In this article, we will delve into the origins of the name and explore its history.

The Origins of Ping Pong

The name “ping pong” is said to have originated in England in the late 19th century. Initially, the game was played by British upper-class individuals as a parlor game. It was often played with makeshift equipment, using books or cigar box lids as rackets and wine corks or champagne corks as balls.

The Sound of the Game

One theory behind the origin of the name “ping pong” is that it comes from the sound the ball makes when it is struck. The sound of the ball hitting the racket and table creates a distinct “ping” and “pong” noise. This constant back-and-forth sound became synonymous with the game itself.

The Influence of Chinese Language

Another theory suggests that the terms “ping pong” were derived from the Chinese language. In Chinese, the game is known as “ping pang qiu,” which directly translates to “ping pong ball.” It is believed that British players heard this term during their interactions with Chinese players and adopted it for the game.

Trademarking and Naming Controversy

In the early 1900s, the game gained popularity and soon became a trademarked name in England. The trademarked name was “Ping-Pong,” and it was owned by the J. Jaques & Son company. However, this led to a legal dispute as other manufacturers also used the term “ping pong” for their products.

As a result, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) was established in 1926 to standardize the rules and regulations of the game. They decided to use the name “table tennis” globally to avoid any trademark conflicts. Despite this, the name “ping pong” continued to be used colloquially by people around the world.


Ping pong, known for its fast-paced and exciting gameplay, has a unique and interesting history behind its name. While its origins can be linked to the sound the ball makes during the game or the influence of the Chinese language, the name “ping pong” has become synonymous with the sport. Whether you call it table tennis or ping pong, the joy of the game remains the same.

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