The Dragon Ball series (manga and television) is known for having puns and other silly names. An amazing amount of characters are named after types of food. Some Dragon Ball names fall under a certain group, like Saiyans and Vegetables, others are just plain out there, like Bulma and Trunks. Here is a list character names in Dragon Ball, and what their names may reference in meaning.
Group Names: Family, Race, & Teams
The Brief Family: Underwear Names
All named after a type of underwear.
Family Members: Bulma, Dr. Brief, Trunks, Tights (Bulma’s Sister)
Saiyans: Vegetable Names
Saiyans are from the planet Vegeta (Vegetable) and are all named after English vegetable words. Kakarot is carrot, Broly is Broccoli, and Prince Vegeta is vegetable, named after his home planet.
See page: Dragon Ball Names: Saiyans and Vegetables for more.
Namekians: Slugs Race with Musical Instrument Names
These slug people all have names relating to different instruments. Some are more obvious than other puns, like Cymbal, Drum, and Piccolo. However some Namekians still have slug names like Esca, and Cargo.
*Other alien races with names with pun meanings:
Tuffle – furūtsu means fruit in Japanese
Frieza’s Race: Cold Cool Names
All named after words that are on the cool side.
named after milk based foods. Gyūnyū even means milk in Japan
Members: Recoome Burter, Jeice, and Guldo
*Although gyūnyū means milk, chichi means mother/breast milk. This is where Chi-Chi gets her name.
Named after fruits. This could be a cruel reference for Frieza of the defeated Tuffle race, who were also named by fruit.
*Other Groups with names with pun meanings:
Garlic Jrs’ – named after spices
Turles Crushers – named after nuts, beans, other foods
Gods of Destruction – alcoholic drinks (Beerus, Liqueur)
Z Fighters: Character Name Meanings
Goku – Goku has much history behind his name, along with his Saiyan name Kakarot.
Gohan – He is named after his Grandfather (the earthling that found Goku and gave him his Name), who’s name meant plenty, or some amount of rice.
Goten – His name is a blend of his brother and father’s names, relating to rice.
Krillin – Kuri means chestnut in Japanese. It is said Toriyama did this as a reference to Krillin’s bald, chestnut shaped head. Also, this makes his name another food pun.
Piccolo – Since Piccolo is a Namekian, he was doomed to be named after an instrument. He is named after the small woodwind instrument
Tien – Tien’s name is said to come from the Japanese phrasing “tien chun fan” meaning fried rice.
Chiaotzu – jiaozi means dumpling in Chinese.
Trunks – Trunks, the son of Bulma and Vegeta, takes more after his mother’s family name than his father’s. Trunks, a form of underpants, relates to the Brief Family’s names.
Vegeta – Prince Vegeta is named for his home planet of the same name. He is the prince of Saiyans, who are all named after vegetables. His name is a play on the English word, vegetable.
Yamcha – Yum Cha means “drink tea” in Chinese.
Secondary Character Names with Meanings
Videl – Devil with the letters mixed up. Her dad is also Mr. Satan.