The Strange Roots

Perl 🐫

Perl is a programming language created by American developer Larry Wall in 1987. When asked by the Linux Journal why he chose the name, Wall said:

I wanted a short name with positive connotations. I actually looked at every three- and four-letter word in the dictionary and rejected them all. I briefly toyed with the idea of naming it after my wife, Gloria, but that promised to be confusing on the domestic front. Eventually I came up with the name “pearl”, with the gloss Practical Extraction and Report Language. The “a” was still in the name when I made that one up. But I heard rumors of some obscure graphics language named “pearl”, so I shortened it to “perl”.

Perl is not an acronym but several unofficial backronyms exist including "Practical Extraction and Reporting Language". Perl also has several unofficial logos, one is an onion and belongs to the Perl Foundation, the other is the camel because Programming Perl, published by O'Reilly Media, featured a picture of a dromedary camel on the cover and was referred to as the "Camel Book".

Root: The word pearl came via the Old French perle meaning 'a bead' or 'something valuable' and the Latin perna meaning 'leg' and extends to the name of a mollusc apparently shaped like a leg of mutton.

Sources: Larry Wall, the guru of Perl