The Strange Roots

Uber 🚖

Uber, the ride-hailing app, takes its name from the prefix denoting something superior or supreme.

Founders Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp came up with the idea for the company after being unable to find a taxi during a snow storm in Paris, France in December 2009. The duo decided to call their startup UberCab, apparently liking the connotation of the word uber meaning 'above all the rest' and making it the founding principle of the company.

After receiving a cease-and-desist letter from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency in May 2011 for running an unlicensed taxi service, Kalanick and Camp immediately dropped the cab from the name - operating simply as Uber.

Root: The word über means 'over' or 'above' in German. It crossed over into English as a prefix to denote something 'outstanding' or 'superior' following the introduction of the term Übermensch by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche as a term for a 'superman'.

Source: Oxford English Dictionary