Abaddon/Abadon(FF8/FF10): Dead Duck says: "Abaddon" is Hebrew for "destroyer". "They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon." -Rev 9:10. Neo Necron mentions that the end of the verse quoted refers to the same name being a "locust king", and Abaddon does resemble an insect.
Achelous (FF10): Moogle Fan writes: "Achelous is a Greek river god. Said to be the father of the Sirens (singing water nymphs)."
Actaneon (FF6) is probably a variant spelling of "actinia", a kind of sea anemone. It comes from the Greek for "ray".
Adamant Turtles and their variations (all): Adamant is a legendary, very hard metal; it's been shoved into the English language as well, meaning "very hard" or "unmoving". Arcanus Dominus writes: "Adamant: From the Greek Adamantos, or "unconquerable," the name was originally applied to diamonds ("Diamond" derives from "adamant") and later to any unbreakable substance."
Adramelech (FFT/FFTA): Or tells us that this demon's name comes from a sequencing of Hebrew words meaning 'as the king saw'.
Aeshma (FFX-2): From Michael Robinson: "This is a Daeva of vengeance, the basis for the demon Asmodeus in Jewish lore." weapon_x_33 says that Aeshma is a Persian archdemon of violence and anger.
Agama (FFX-2): From Moogle Fan: The name comes from the small, insect-eating lizards of the same name of the family Agamaide, found in European tropics.
Agaliarept (FF3): Angry Turnip says this demon was mentioned in "Verum or The True Grimoire The Most Approved Keys of Solomon, The Hebrew Rabbi" and later in "Le Veritable Dragon Rouge", which provided a picture of him..
Agares (FF9): From Amdusias: Number 2 of the 72 Goetia, or Lesser Key of Solomon. The Goetia were said to have been imprisoned in a magic ring and cast into a lake. More information can be found here. Here’s what is says about him in the Goetia: "Agares is the Second Spirit listed in the Goetia. He is Duke under the Power of the East and governs 31 legions. He appears as an old man riding on a crocodile & carrying a Goshawk in his hand. He can teach languages, destroy Dignities, and cause earthquakes."
Ahriman (numerous): Hroþgar writes: Ahriman is the god of evil and darkness, in opposition to Ahura Mazda, in the Zoroastrian religion.
Aka Manah (FFX-2): From Michael Robinson: "This is a Daeva who is the personification of lust." Moogle Fan adds that the name means "evil mind"; this demon was supposed to be at eternal opposition to Vohu Manah ("good mind") in Persian mythology, and they both represent the good and evil forces in life.
Alcyone (FF10): From Michael Robinson, quoting this site: In Greek Mythology, Alcyone, who in grief over the death of her husband Ceyx, threw herself into the sea and was changed into a halcyon; a bird identified with the kingfisher, believed to have had the power to calm the wind and the waves at the time of the winter solstice when it nested on the sea. Halcyon means tranquil and free from disturbance or care; prosperous; golden: as in "halcyon years".
Other versions make Alcyone, and her six sisters, the daughters of Atlas. Some said that it was because of the daughters' grief over Atlas, their father, whose labor in bearing the world, was the cause of their transformation and subsequent transfer to the heavens.
Alte Roit (FF5): Zidane Ultima notes that "alte" is German for "old" or "ancient", and "roi" is French for "king" - hence, Alte Roit = Ancient King.
Amdusias (FF9): From Sathanai: Amdusius is a slight adaptation of "Amduscius" - a mythical demon spirit said to resemble a unicorn. Referances to Amduscias can be found in Johann Wier's "pseudomonarchia daemonum" (AD 1583) and later Collin De Plancy's "dictionnaire infernal" (AD 1863).
Amdusias quotes the Goetia (see Agares): "Amdusias (Amdukias) is the Sixty-seventh Spirit listed in the Goetia, who governs 29 Legions. He appears as a unicorn, but will transform to human shape accompanied by the sounding of trumpets & other musical instruments upon request. He causes trees to bend & decline at the invoker's request."
Anacondaur (FF8): Anaconda + Saurus (dinosaur). (From Vielsun Tan)
Angra Mainyu (FFX-2): From Michael Robinson: This is an alias of Ahriman. Moogle Fan adds that the name means "evil mentality".
Antlion: From David Byrne: "Antlions are a species of predatory insects in Africa. Their larvae dig holes and wait for prey to stumble in for their food. It looks almost identical to the creatures in the games."
Apokryphos (FF6) is on the Floating Continent. Its name comes from Greek for "hidden". This is the origin of the English word "apocryphal", which means "almost certainly fictional".
Apsu (FF7): From Iijakaca: Apsu helped to create the universe along with Tiamat in the Babylonian creation myth.
Aquila (FF6) is Latin for 'eagle'.
Arachne (FF4): She was a woman who weaved things and was turned into a spider by Athena when she lost a bet - thus she's a spider in this game (and thus the English word "arachnid").
Archaeoavis (FF5): Seraph writes: Archeo is Greek for Ancient, and Avis I assume relates to birds, flight, hence aviary, which literally translates as "ancient bird".
Aspidochelon (FF6)is called Aspik in FF3. But that ruins the name, since it comes from Greek "aspidion" (a small round shield) and "chelon" (hard shell).
Astaroth (FF2): From Cactuberry: Astaroth is another fallen angel in league with Lucifer. Additional information from ShinyMasamune: Astaroth was an early Sidonian and Egyptian goddess of fertility that was condemned as a demon by the Christian Church to covert others from paganism to Christianity.
Axolotl (FF9): From David Byrne: "This is a type of amphibian which keeps gills into adulthood. It looks the same as the creatures in the game except less upright and it can't kill anything."
Azi Dahaka (FFX-2): From Michael Robinson: "This is a Daeva dragon, connected to Dahaka." Moogle Fan adds: the name means "fiendish snake" in Old Persian; it's a demon that appears as a three-headed snake, and brings storm.
Azulmagia (FF5): From PsychicPsycho6@aol.com: Azulmagia (the name of the Blue Mage boss) is Spanish for Blue Magic.
Bandersnatch (FF9): See Jabberwock.
Barbatos (FF10): Amdusias quotes the Goetia (see Agares): "Barbatos is the Eighth Spirit listed in the Goetia, a duke who governs 30 Legions of spirits. He usually appears with 4 noble kings & their armies when the Sun is in Sagittary. He can decipher what animals are saying, open magically protected treasures, knows of past things, can predict the future, & can council those in power."
Barbuta (FFX-2): weapon_x_33 says a Barbuta is an Italian helmet with no crest. Fitting for one of the armored mole monsters.
Bashura (FF10): Bash (as in hit) + Ashura. (From Michael Robinson)
Basilisk (FF10): A reptilian creature of many legends who turns things to stone by its gaze (made popular by Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets).
Beelzebub (FF2): From Cactuberry: Beelzebub is one of the Fallen Angels that is considered a Leutinent to Lucifer. Belzebub is also the Lord of the Flies.
Behemoth (all): Hebrew for "animal", it also entered the English dictionary as meaning "huge creature or thing". Hence the humongous purple dude. 8-) Thanks to Sephy1024 for reminding me. Mako Gen cites a book called The Encyclopedia Of Angels which lists Behemoth as "The male counterpart to Leviathan, one of the fallen angels and a demon of the deep. Like Leviathan he is associated with Rahab and the sea, and is personified variously as a whale, crocodile, and hippopotamus. Rabbinic lore holds that on the Day of Judgment, he will slay and be slain by Leviathan."
Berserker (FF3): See Miscellaneous.
Blitz (FF8): From Chris Carrington: "Blitz" is German for "lightning", and since he uses thunder attacks and absorbs it, it makes perfect sense.
Bolfry (FF3): From Angry Turnip: This is another of the Goetia demons. More commonly known as Berith.
Boris(FFX-2): From shadescythe: This spider monster's name may be a nod to "Boris the Spider" a song by the band, The Who.
Buel (FF8) / Buer (FF10): Amdusias quotes the Goetia (see Agares):"Buer is the Tenth Spirit listed in the Goetia, who appears in and like Sagittary when the Sun is there. He teaches moral & natural philosophy, logic art, & herbology. He also can calm distempers in man. He governs 50 Legions of Spirits." Take a look at this picture also and you’ll see where Square got their idea as to how to have Buer look.
Bunyip (FF10): From Chozo: A Bunyip is an Australian water demon known for shapeshifting. However, it does not in any way resemble a shelled creature with eggs on it's back as it is portrayed in FF10 (from what I've read). It is said to take the form of an emu, a dog, a horse, or a humanoid (Magickal, Mythtical, Mystical Beasts by D.J. Conway) with backwards feet. Others say it is deerlike in appearance with red eyes, webbed feet, and matted black hair and is commonly seen in rivers (Cryptozoology A to Z by Loren Coleman).
Byblos (Biburosu) (5, Tactics): You meet him in FF5's Library of Ancients, which makes sense since his name is derived from the Greek for "book". The French, German, and Russian words for "library" (and perhaps several others) are all cognates, related to the Greek. FF5's Library of Ancients is patterned after the one in Alexandria, and the two most famous books there were "Byblos" and "Almagest".
Cactuar (6 and on): Probably a cross between "cactus" and "jaguar" for its ferocity. In Japanese these are known as "sapotenders", which comes from Japanese "sapoten", meaning cactus, and "pretender". And in FF6a it was called "Cactrot", adding "trot" to it (perhaps because it always runs away?). Maou elaborates: In the Japanese, it's not Sabotenders but "Sabotendaa." It's a joke "Saboten" is indeed cactus and "da" is simply a form of "to be." So, the monster's name WOULD be "It's a Cactus!" (a suitable thing to read when you see one of the bizarre things), but with the long 'a' at the end, it's like "(Almost) It's a Cactus!"
Canis Major (FFX-2): From Moogle Fan: The name comes from the constellation of a dog that contains the star Sirius. "Canis" means "dog" in Latin.
Catoblepas (FFX): From Jennifer: Catoblepas comes from Greek mythology as an enormous bull with scales.
Cephaler (FF6) comes from the same root as 'cephalopod' and is the class of octopi and squids.
Chac (FFX-2): weapon_x_33 tells that Chac is the Mayan god of rain and thunder.
Chimera (all): From Greek mythology. It's a fire-breathing monster having either the hindquarters of a serpent and the head of a lion on the body of a goat, or else the back of a goat, the wings of a dragon, the front half of a lion, and three heads (one each for goat, lion and dragon). In Squaresoft games they favor the latter bit, adding in a snake for a tail.
Chimerageist (FF10): From Moogle Fan: "Geist" is German for "spirit", so the name means "Chimera Spirit".
Claret Dragon (FFX-2): From Will Weaver: Claret is a dark, purplish red color, which matches the color of the dragon's body.
Cockatrice (all): Supposedly they were deadly winged serpents from biblical times.
From The Final Fantasy Usenet FAQ: It is said in a legend that, when the moons are just right, a chicken somewhere will lay an egg. On that night, a snake will appear and curl itself around that egg. When the egg hatches, a fearful monster called a "Cockatrice" emerges from it. The monster, half bird and half snake; has the powers of the Gorgon, and can turn people into stone just by people looking at them.
Coeurl: From Wilfredo Martinez: The CUARL is almost surely based on the COEURL from A.E. Van Voght's short story "Black Destroyer". In it, there's an alien creature resembling a panther with tentacles and psionic powers. The Displacer Beast (from Dungeons and Dragons) was also likely based on this monster. [Note that the monster is indeed called Coeurl in FF10.] There's also a monster called Coeurlregina in FF10, which basically means "Coeurl Queen", "regina" being Latin for "queen".
Daeva (FFX-2): From Michael Robinson: "A group of demons in the middle east, yet gods in the far-east, especially Hinduism."
Dark Side (FF6): Maybe this has something to do with "the Force" in the Star Wars movies; Darth Vader is on the Dark Side. Probably just coincidence, though.
Demonolith (FF10): Demon + Monolith. (From Michael Robinson)
Dingo (FF10): The name of a canine animal indigenous to Australia. Thanks to Scott Lindsay for the reminder.
The Dream Stooges from FF6: Hroþgar writes that in Japan their names were Sueño, Sogno, and Rêve. The names mean "dream" in Spanish, Italian, and French, respectively.
Dullahan: (2, 6, MQ)Dullahan is from Irish mythology, and is a headless spirit that wanders around Ireland, holding his head under his arm and driving a black coach drawn by headless horses! He knocks on people's doors, and hurls a bucket of blood in their faces! As you can probably guess, a visit from Dullahan is considered to be a portent of death.
Eland (FF6) shows up not only on the Veldt in FF6, but on the "real" veld in Africa. It's a big antelope with horns.
Epitaph (FF9): According to dragoneye13: this tombstone-like monster appropriately obtains its name from the general word for inscriptions upon a gravestone.
Espada (FF10): Moogle Fan says this is Spanish for "sword".
Fafnir (FF10): The dragon killed by Siegfried in the Ring of the Nibelung Norse legend. See Siegfried for more info. Fafnir also appears in the Japanese version of FF6 (it was translated as Vectaur).
Farfarello (FF5), who shows up in the forest part of the Cleft of Dimension, is another demon from Dante's Inferno. Some of the others are the Four Fiends in FF2. This monster was translated as "Jestrex" for some reason in the PSX version.
Fatistocalon (FF8): According to weapon_x_33: In Tolkien's Middle Earth series, the Fastistocalon were huge turtle-fish monsters in Hobbit lore that were often mistaken for islands.
Fenrir (FF10): See Summons.
Figaliz (FF6): Hroþgar tells me it's just short for "Figaro Lizard".
Flan (numerous): This is a type of dessert. Also note the "puddings" and "mousse"s that have variations on this. Hroþgar notices that the monster in FF6 called Muus is in fact supposed to be "mousse". 8-)
Moogle Fan sez: Final Fantasy X-2's Flans each have Spanish names:
Amarillo = Yellow
Azabache = Jet Black
Azul (Azule) = Blue
Palido = Name for a white wine-grape; pale
Rojo = Red
Fortis (FF6) comes from Latin and means strength or power.
Fury (FF5): The Furies were old crones sent by the gods to punish people. Supposedly, they carried whips with thorns on them.
Gandarewa (FFX): From Jennifer: Gandarew is a Persian water demon that attempts to devour the good things of creation.
Gargoyles (FF5): Stone statues that are frequently seen near entrances to buildings. They guard the entrances to the places where the slabs are located. Some old European castles would have gargoyles above the door to ward off evil spirits. Goyles and Red Goyles are in FF1 also.
Garm (FF6): In Nordic myths, Garm is a dog who is killed by Tyr at Ragnarok.
Garuda (FFX): From Jennifer: The king of all birds in Hindu mythology,
Gemini (FF10): The Twins of Zodiac fame. The two Iron Giant-type monsters always appear together, hence the name. (From Michael Robinson)
Gerogero (FF8): Iijakaca says that this is a Japanese onomatapoeia word for 'throwing up'.
Giants and Frost Giants (FF1): The Frost Giants come from Nordic mythology. The father of the Frost Giants was Ymir, and with his cow Audumla he created the Aesir, and Odin (a really familiar name if you like FF) is among them. (I'm skipping a large portion of this story. For more info, check your local library ^_^)
Gilgame (FF5): From Cactuberry: 'Gil' is the basic currency of the FF series (can we get a DUH in here?) and 'game' is turtle (ishigame to be more correct, ishigame is various turtles and kame is tortoise or turtle).
Gnoll (FF9): From Dungeons and Dragons, the gnoll is described as a tall desert-dwelling humanoid with the head of a hyena & greyish green fur. (From Michael Robinson)
Grasharaboras (FF6): Known as Borras in the American version. See Summons.
Grendel (FF8, 10): A monster fought by the legendary Beowulf. See Characters for more info on Beowulf.
Grosspanzer (FF7): Marcus Lauerer says that while technically this is German for "Grand Armor", "panzer" is more specifically the word for "tank", hence "Great Tank".
Gucumatz (FFX-2): weapon_x_33 says there is a Mayan epic known as the Popol Vuh that contains the tale of a hero named Gucumatz who possesses the ability to trnasform into a variety of animals.
Gug (FFX-2): From weapon_x_33: Likely derived of Gog, a giant who with his partner Magog appear in Revelations to symbolize the future enemies of God. From Sami Hietsan: Gug is an ogre-like monster from H.P Lovecraft's Cthulu mythos with a giant gaping maw for a head. Minus the maw-for-a-head, FFX-2's Gug fits a similar description.
Halicarnassus (FF5): One of the bosses of the Cleft of Dimension. The name probably comes from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, which was built in what is now Turkey around 350 BC. It was built for Carian king Mausolus; thus the English word "mausoleum". Incidentally, this is another Wonder of the Ancient World. This name was also butchered in the PSX translation as "Halycanos".
Halma (FF10): From Moogle Fan: This is Greek for "jump".
Haokah (FF3): From Zoogelio: According to Encyclopedia Mythica, he's the Sioux god of thunder, and sometimes the god of the hunt. That fits given he uses a thunder attack.
Hecteyes (FF2, 9): Moogle Fan mentions that this is plain English for "hundred eyes".
Hilgigars (FF9): Should be "Hill Gigas" From Michael Robinson.)
Hipocampus (FF6): From Hiryuu: In Greek mythology, a hippocampus was a sea creature that resembled a horse with the lower body of a dolphin or fish. One of these was what pulled Poseidon's chariot.
Hrimthurs(FFX-2) From Jennifer : Hrimthurs was a god in Norse mythology that constructed the walls surrounding Asgard.
Humpty (FF6) probably comes from the poem, "Humpty Dumpty". ^_-
Hydra (FF4): See Summon Hydra.
Ibises (FF5): An ibis is a type of bird much represented in Egyptian mythology. In the PSX version, though, there were translated as "Avis"es, from the Latin for "to fly". "Tote Avis" could either mean "Death Ibis" ('Tod' (rhymes with boat) is German for 'death') or "Thoth Ibis" (as in the Egyptian god who kept balance in the world, and who had the head of an ibis). Also "Jura Avis/Ibis" may be related to the Jurassic period in history, which is in turn named for the Jura mountains in Switzerland. "Avis" is probably the correct translation, I believe.
Intangir (FF6) probably comes from 'intangible'... he's pretty hard to hit! Maou mentions that Intangir was "Nemureru Shishi," "Sleeping Lion," in the original.
Io (FF6): The name of Jupiter's volcanic moon. Jupiter's four lovers included Io, Europa, Callisto, and Ganymede - they're immortalized as Jupiter's four largest moons. It should be pronounced "EE-oh", but you also hear "EYE-oh". Rael Stanley also adds the Columbia Encyclopedia entry for Io: "In Greek mythology, daughter of Inachus, king of Argos. She was loved by Zeus, who, to protect her from Hera's jealousy, changed her into a white heifer. Hera, however, was not deceived; she claimed the heifer and sent Argus to guard it. When Hermes killed Argus, Hera tormented Io with a gadfly which drove her across Europe and through Asia, until she was finally allowed to rest in Egypt. There Zeus returned her to human form, and she bore his child Epaphus. Io has been identified with the Egyptian goddess Isis."
Ironside (FFX-2): From Will Weaver: This may refer to the warship U.S.S. Constitution. In the 1800s, it was referred to as "Old Ironsides". According to JP, Ironside was a regiment led my Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil War (early 1600s) against King James I.
Jabberwock (FF9): From WTG3: The Jabberwock and Bandersnatch enemies from FF9 come from Lewis Carroll's poem 'The Jabberwocky", quoted in "Alice Through The Looking-Glass".
Jahi (FFX-2): weapon_x_33 tells us Jahi is a Persian demoness of debauchery.
Jormungard: See Summons (Terrato/Midgard Serpent).
Jubjub (FFXI): ShinyMasamune says that the Jubjub-bird appear in Lewis Carrol's poem "Jabberwocky" as another beast to beware.
Kelpie (FF3): From weapon_x_33: a water spirit in Scottish folklore that appears as horse and leads children and weary travelers into water in order to drown them.
King VERMIN!!!(FFX-2): From damntheconspiracy: The boss' name may be a reference to the part in FF7 where Barrett says to Shinra's president: "...and that makes you King VERMIN!!!". :)
Knocker (FF3): From Jaime: Alternatively known as a Knacker, Bwca, or Bucca, the Knocker is the equivlanet of the Irish leprechaun and the English/Scottish brownie. Wearing tiny versions of miner's garb and living underground, these mischievous creatures are said to be the cause of the "knocking" (the creaking of the earth/timbers giving way) that occurs before a mine collapses.
Kulkulcan (FFX-2): Iijakaca tells us the Kulkulcan was essentially the Mayan version of the Aztec thunder god: Quetzacoatl.
Kyzoku (FF1): Probably a misspelling of "Kaizoku", Japanese for "pirate".
Lamashtu (FF10): From Moogle Fan: Lamashtu was a Sumerian/Mesopotamian demon that had the head of a lioness and a donkey's body.
Lamia(FF5, FF9): From Patrick Biron: Lamia is Latin for 'lecherous' or a demon, vampire or witch. It is also spoken as a serpent with a woman's breasts and head.
Larva (FF10): Besides being a wormy baby thing that insects turn into, it's also a malevolent spirit of the dead in Roman myth (see Dictionary.com). (From Michael Robinson)
Lethal Weapon (FF6): I don't know... maybe named for the movie series starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover? :)
Li Grim (FFTA): From Mike Clapperton: This is short for Le Grimoire, which is a manual of black magic (for invoking spirits and demons).
Lobo (FF6) is Spanish for 'wolf'.
Lunaris (FF6): Means, approximately, "from the moon".
Mafdet (FF10): From Moogle Fan: Mafdet was an ancient Egyptian goddess who could provide protection against snakes, scorpions, and other dangerous animals.
Malboro: It is possible that this name comes from Marlboro Cigarettes, via his Bad Breath attack) but in FF6a it's called Mad Oscar and Evil Oscar. The "Oscar" comes from Sesame Street's Oscar the Grouch, whom it vaguely resembles. From Wilfredo Martinez: MARLBOROS are named after the cigar! There is a joke about it in FF8: one of the booklets you collect during the game points out to the area where they can be found- by saying that CIGAR-SHAPED UFOS have been seen there! Rujiel says that Malboro/Marbolger(FFXI) may be derived from Malebolge, one of the circles of Hell in Dante's Inferno thus hinting that such a monster is from this hellish locale.
Maelspike (FF10): Maelstrom + Spike. (From Michael Robinson)
Mandragora (FF10): Another name for the mandrake, a root said to kill whoever eats it, (some versions have it that this happens by the plant shrieking at the victim). TimeRender adds: "Mandragora is also used in the creation of magical fetish dolls by those who believe in Wicca. The root is carved into a roughly manshaped appearance, and is then used in very much the same way as a voodoo doll."
Manticore (FF1): From Moogle Fan: A Greek monster (originally an Indian one called Mantikhoras) with the head of a man, body of a lion, and tail of a scorpion. Mantikhoras means "Man-Eater". Also known as Androphagos.
Melusine (FF10): A French myth about a cursed woman named Melusine whose legs change into a serpent's tail every Saturday. For more info, click here. (From Michael Robinson)
Metsanhenki(FFXI): From Sami Hietsan: This twig-like monster from FFXI is a character of Finnish folklore whose name means 'spirit of the forest'.
Metsanneitsky(FFXI): From Sami Hietsan: This twig-like monster from FFXI is a character Finnish folklore whose name means 'maiden of the forest'.
Midgar Zolom: See Summon Terrato.
MindFlayer:He attacks with "Mind Blast", which sucks out your brain. I'm not sure which mythology he's from, but supposedly Mind Flayer is one of those truly evil beings who has no soul. Also known as "illithid". Hio2k elaborates: "In D&D, illithids are known for their affinity for 'brain food' (in the literal sense), and their ability to suck out your brain instantly once they get all four of those tentacles wrapped around your skull." Andrew Pennock thinks that the D&D one may have come from someplace else. "I think that the game designers were making a nod to H.P. Lovecraft's popular Mythos of Cthulhu (dont ask me how to pronounce it) Cthulhu was supposed to have the face of a squid, the wings of a dragon, and the body of a very large humanoid. more importantly Cthulhu made people go crazy by just looking at them, like the Mindflayers main attack does." Hiro2k again: "He doesn't drive people crazy by looking at them; he is so horrible-looking that people are driven crazy by the mere sight of him!"
Minotaur: From the Greek legend. The Cretan king Minos (meaning "from Crete", not "idiotic") supposedly had a soft spot... er, sexually... for white bulls. (Or, according to Thomas Meeks, it was actually his wife who had said soft spot.) One of the gods (for a reason I can't recall) sent him one to test him (or her); after a bit of a mess, the end result was something having the head of a bull and the body of a man. "Minotaur" is Greek for "Minos's bull". Minos hired Daedalus (father of Icarus) to build the famous Labyrinth to imprison the Minotaur. However, eventually Theseus, aided by Ariadne's magical string, managed to foil the Labyrinth, kill the Minotaur, and come out unharmed.
Jason Murchie sez: "The story I have is King Minos' wife, Pasiphae had dared compared her beauty to that of the goddess Aphrodite. The offended goddess then instilled Pasiphae with a love for one of her husband's prize bulls. The result of the union was the Minotaur."
Minotaur's brother, Sekhret, is mistranslated from Sekhmet. Sekhmet is a lion-headed goddess sent by Ra to punish mankind for its sins. Part of the triad that includes Bast (cat goddess) and Ra (the rather important sun god).
Mistodon (9): A cross between "mist" and "mastodon", a prehistoric creature that looked a bit like a woolly mammoth. Thanks goes to Moogle Fan.
Mu (FF7): From David Byrne: "Mu was a mythical lost continent.However it was also believed to be inhabited by giant hermaphrodite lemming/rodent type creatures which match the description of the creature itself."
Mushussu (FF10): From Moogle Fan: In Babylonian mythology, Mushussu was a three-headed dragon that served Babylonian goddess Tiamat.
Naga (FF4): A Naga is a long-tailed being from Indian legend (they show up in FF1 also). The HugeNaga from the Sealed Cave is Naga Rajah originally; it means 'King Naga' and comes from Sanskrit.
Nastidon (FF6) is just a combination of "nasty" and "mastodon".
Nebiros (FF10): From Moogle Fan: Nebiros is a half-insect, half-human demon (origin unknown).
Necrophobia (FF5): This just means "fear of death" in Latin.
Necrotaur (FF1): Moogle Fan says this is basically Latin for "death bull".
Nemesis (FF10): Wilfredo Martinez mentions that it's the Greek goddess of revenge or justice, but it's also a perfectly normal English word with a meaning similar to "archenemy".
Nidhogg (FF10): A serpent from Norse myth, which continually attempts to destroy Yggdrasil, the World Tree. Features prominently in Wagner's Ring Saga.
Ochu: From Wilfredo Martinez: The OCHU is another D&D rip-off, it looks identical to the game's Otyugh. (The latter are not vegetal, though.) TimeRender disagrees and says it was probably named after the allergen attacks it uses (gezundheit!). From barret.vii: Ochu is an Igbo (African tribal language) for 'manslaughter' or 'murder'. I don't think this is likely, but I do like the sound of it.
Olog-Hai (FF3): According to weapon_x_33: the Olog-Hai were specially bred trolls created by Sauron in Tolkien's LOTR that possessed no fear of sunlight unlike that or normal trolls.
Ogopogo (FF4a): From Jason Murchie: Ogopogo is one of three legendary "pogo" creatures found in Canada. Logopogo can be found in a British Columbia lake (not sure of which one). Manipogo can be found in Manitoba in the lake of the same name. Ogopogo can be found in Lake Ontario which is part of the U.S. / Canada boarder. All three come from native legends and share the same description. All are described as long and slender and humped while traveling, basically the same as the Loch Ness Monster but not as well known (explains the pallet swap). Also of note, when one (I think Logopogo, but I'm not sure) comes around birds are suppose to fly backwards. See Tidaliathan (below) for the Japanese version of this monster. Ryan Dumais claims that the above has Logopogo and Ogopogo mixed up.
Omega, Omega Weapon: Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet. Hence these monsters being the hardest challenges in their respective games.
Ornitholestes (FF10): From Moogle Fan: The name comes from a prehistoric dinosaur named Ornitholestes (which means 'bird robber' in Latin). It was a carnivore that walked on two long legs, and was about 6 and a half feet long.
Osteosaur (FF6) comes from Greek for "bone lizard".
Over Mind (FF6) was probably inspired by Arthur C. Clarke's novel _Childhood's End_, in which there's a great being that transcends physical bodies. Eventually the human race is absorbed by the Overmind, and becomes one with it.
Ozma (FF9): I've gotten several people claiming the name is based on Ozma from Frank L. Baum's Wizard of Oz series, but I've seen no similarity between the monster and the character and therefore I don't think it very likely. From tyrantswrath: Ozma is one of the names of the first SETI (search for extra-terrestrial intelligence) projects. Perhaps suggestive of Ozma's out-of-this-world appearance.
Pandora (FF6): See Lunatic Pandora (Places).
Penance (FF10): Seraph writes: Penance in FFX is a link to Sin; paying penance is atoning for the sins one has commited.
Phlegyas (FF10): In Greek myth, he's the son of Ares and Chryse, and ancestor of the Phlegyans, a people of Thessaly. He also happens to be Ixion's father. 8-) In an unrelated note, he's also the boatman who rows Dante and Virgil across the river Styx in Dante's Inferno. (From Michael Robinson.)
Phobos, Triton, Nereid (FF5): Phobos means "fear"; it's also one of the moons of Mars. Triton is king of the seas and one of Neptune's moons, as is Nereid. Nereid was called "Nergade" in the PSX version.
Phunbaba (FF6): He is probably the very same 'Humbaba' from the Gilgamesh story. They're spelled the same way in Japanese; probably the translators had never heard of Humbaba and so they arbitrarily picked the spelling 'Phunbaba'. And no, I don't know if the Humbaba of legend attacked with 'Baba Breath' ^_^
Primordite (FF6)means "ancient", like the English word "primordial".
Prokaryote and Eukaryote (FF4): These things are extremely
simple one-celled life forms from which modern complex beings sprang. Cactuberry mentions that a Eukaryote is a multicelluar organism which animals and plants are made of. He also says that the reason they're on the moon is because when the lunar program was started, the astronauts were looking for simple organisms as evidence of life on it. They failed to find any, though.
Hiryuu expands on the differences between the two: "A prokaryotic cell doesn't have a nucleus, and a eukaryotic cell does. That's the main difference, although Eukaryotic cells are much bigger and complex with membrane-bound organelles that prokaryotic cells don't have. Bacteria are prokaryotic, while protozoa are eukaryotic. As for multicellular organisms, they're always made up of eukaryotic cells. Thus, organisms (whether multi-cellular OR single celled) are called eukaryotes, while bacteria are considered prokaryotes.
Greek Roots: Eu = True, good, etc. Pro = Before. Karyo = kernal (referring to nucleus here). So, prokaryote means 'before nucleus', since they first appeared before nuclei evolved. Eukaryote means 'true nucleus', since eukaryotic cells have nuclei."
Prometheus (FF6): Though he's a rather insignificant enemy in FF6, he was pretty important in Greek mythology. Supposedly Prometheus created humans, and then stole fire from Mount Olympus in order to save them from freezing. But Zeus didn't like this and Prometheus was imprisoned. Later, though, Hercules frees him. Also if you've played CT, this name might be familiar!
Pteryx (FF10): Andi Kirk says that this is ancient Greek for "wing", hence its use in e.g. archaeopteryx.
Rafflesia (FF12, FF7CC, FFTA): From Catherine Wheeler: "Rafflesia is the name of a genus of parasitic plants whose flowers are the largest ones in the world; one species of rafflesia can grow to be a meter wide! Rafflesia are also known as 'carrion flowers' due to the fact that they smell and look like rotten meat. In FF12 the Rafflesia boss summoned marlboros to fight for it, so I guess it makes sense!"
Rakshasa (FF1): From Cain Highwind, quoting a Dungeons and Dragons trading card: "Rakshasas are a race of malevolent spirits encased in flesh that hunt and torment humanity. They savor the taste of human flesh and use illusions to get it. They have a limited form of ESP which allows them to disguise themselves as someone the human trusts."
Yama dev/null elaborates: "Rakshasi have been around longer than Dungeons and Dragons. A raksha, also known as a rakshasa, is an evil (usually) spirit in Hindu mythology. They usually appear as dogs, fat birds, or skeletons. They are the descendents of Rishi Kashyapa."
Ralvimahgo (FF9): Raluvimbha in Japanese. Michael Robinson says this is a "a rain-god of the Bavenda of Transvaal. All the destructive natural phenomena (earthquakes, floods, thunder, drought) as well as plagues are attributed to him."
Ralvurahva (FF9): Raluvlarva in Japanese. Michael Robinson notes this is Raluvimbha + "larva" (see above).
Red Cap (FF3): From Jaime: Also known as a powrie or dunter, they are a type of murderous goblin/fairy/elf that stains their hat with their victim's blood. In order to stay alive, their hats must remain stained, so they must kill often to maintain the crimson hue.
Sahagin: Arcanus Dominus thinks this monster may have originated in Dungeons and Dragons. Wilfredo Martinez clarifies: The SAHAGIN are also from D&D (called Sahuagin there)- I believe they were based on the Deep Ones from the Chtulhu Mythos.
Sand Worm: I think it's modeled after the tube monster from Return of the Jedi. Magical Esper tells me that it's probably based after the Sand Worm creature from Frank Herbert's "Dune" series.
Sandragora (FF10): Sand + Mandragora.
Schizo (FF7): From Browsg12: "Schizo is the Latin word for split, since it is double headed, and its functions are split amongst its two heads. (Schizophrenia, for example, is to have a "split mind")..."
Scullion (FF6) is an Old English word which refers to a maid or servant who washes dishes and things. A nice word for one of Kefka's minions, but "real" scullions don't have lasers and missiles, now do they?
Shantak(FFX-2): From Sami Hietsan: Shantak is a bird-like fiend from H.P Lovecraft's Cthulu mythos.
Simurgh (FF10): A giant bird of Persian myth. (From Michael Robinson.)
Sinspawn Gui (FF10): From Shah: The word Gui is a chinese word for "ghost" or "spirit". Also, the same Chinese glyph for Gui is used for the Japanese kanji meaning "oni" or "demon".
Skoll (FFX): According to weapon_x_33: Skoll was a wolf in Norse myth that pursued the Sun and Moon and would finally devour the celestial bodies at Ragnarok.
Sleipnir is Odin's eight-legged horse in Norse mythology. Steve Dolphin tells me it was given to him by Loki, the Norse trickster god, as a joke. Andrew Pennock disagrees: "Sleipnir actually wasn't a joke. Loki, in order to distract the dwarf blast's horse, Svadilfari, a stallion of great strength, he changed into a mare. The offspring of this unusual coupling was Sleipnir. The name means Glider and Sleipnir can travel over sea and through the air and can outrun any other horse."
Striborg: Tenukkiut says that Striborg is the Ancient Russian god of Winds. Furthermore, this name may be derived from the words "Stri" which is Indoeuropean for 'father' and 'Bog' which is Russian for 'god'.
Sylvestre (FFXI): From ShinyMasamune: 'Silvestre' is Spanish for wild, especially when referring to wild plants. Quite suiting for a Mandragora-type monster.
Snow (7): From Chrono Trigger: In Japan, the Snow Woman (or Yuki Onna) was a female spirit who lives in the cold climates. She is said to be unforgiving to wicked humans so she freezes them. Or tricks travelers by asking them to care for her baby when it's actually a block of ice.
Sphinx (1, MQ): Egyptian creature with a lion's body, a woman's head and shoulders, and eagle's wings. It would sit alongside a road and ask travelers that came by a riddle and eat anyone who got it wrong. The riddle: "What animal has four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three legs in the evening?" You've probably heard the answer... a human being!
Stheno (MQ): Stheno was one of the Gorgons of Greek myth. The other two were Medusa (who's rather famous) and Euryale (who isn't). The Gorgons were terrifying dragon-like creatures who could turn people to stone just by looking at them.
Stratavis (FF10): Strato (sky) + Avis (bird). (From Michael Robinson.)
Taharka (FF9): From Moogle Fan: Takarka was an pharaoh in ancient Egypt.
Michael Robinson says the Japanese name is Dahaka. This is "an ancient Persian demon of death, deceit, mendacity. He loves destroying life. Dahaka is usually depicted with three heads, while scorpions & lizards crawl all over his body."
Takouba (FFX-2): From Moogle Fan: The takouba is a straight, double-edged sword, with no hilt, used by the Tuareg people of Africa.
Tantarian: Dantalian in Japanese. Michael Robinson says: "In Christian lore, Dantalian is a lesser demon who could alter the thoughts of men, turning them from good to evil."
Taromaiti (FFX-2): From Moogle Fan: The name means "disrespect" or "opposition" in Old Persian. Taromaiti was a daughter of Angra Mainyu (Ahriman).
Tawrich (FFX-2): From Michael Robinson: "This is a Daeva who is the personification of hunger."
Telstar (FF6): You fight Telstar in the imperial camp. Telstar was the name of the satellite which broadcast programs across the entire world beginning in 1961.
Templar (FF6): The Knights Templar came into existence in 1119, and their symbol was a crown, with two crossed swords behind it. They were dedicated to the protection of those in the crusades. Their order was destroyed when King Philip the Fair had the Grand Master at the time executed for refusing to disclose the location of the Templar's treasuries and the identities of his members.
Th'uban (FF10): Dalton of Zeal sent in a site that lists this as "An Islamic demon that looks like a dragon." Moogle Fan mentions that the word means "the snake" in Arabic.
Tiamat: In Akkadian mythology, Tiamat is the mother of
the other gods. She has five heads (blue, red, black, green, and white)
In some stories, she is enemy of Bahamut, king of the dragons. In FF8, Tiamat is indeed supposed to be related to Bahamut, and s/he looks very much like him in that game.
From The Final Fantasy Usenet FAQ: In Babylonian mythology, Tiamat co-created the world with her husband, Apsu. Later on, Ea (the god of wisdom) slew Apsu; and his son, Marduk, challenged Tiamat. Marduk eventually slays Tiamat.
According to DarkFalzz: "Tiamat is also the Sumerian name for Leviathin and Absu is also known as Behemoth and even Cthulhu sometimes. Tiamat usually has 5 heads but can have anywhere from 3 to 6. I'm not quite sure but some places have reffered to Bahamut as Tiamats enemy, but I am pretty sure that Bahamut is Tiamat's counterpart because Bahamut is also known as Behemoth when it comes to comparing him to Tiamat."
From Wilfredo Martinez: TIAMAT (and BAHAMUT) are mayor characters in D&D (the Evil and Good Gods of the Dragons, respectively). Note, in legend Tiamat originally had a HUMAN form but took a Dragon's in her rage after Apsu's killing.
Tidaliathan (FF4) - this was translated as Ogopogo in the US version. Hroþgar notes that it's an amalgamation of "tidal" and "Leviathan".
Tindalos (FFX-2): From Hao Dang: This monster is based off the Hounds of Tindalos from the Lovecraft mythos that exist in an alternate realm where evolution has not started. These beasts are fierce towards and time or dimensional travellers.
Titania (FFTA): From Angry Turnip: The queen of the fairies in European legends. Appeared in Shakespeare's play, A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Tomb Thumb (FF6): Not really mythological, but the name comes from "General" Tom Thumb, who was only about three feet tall. He joined P. T. Barnum's exhibition in 1842 and went on tour in the U. S. and Europe from 1844 to 1847. The "Tomb" part is of course a pun. Angry Turnip adds "General Tom Thumb's name is takn from a folktale in which a poor couple wish for a son, even if he's only as tall as a thumb - and their wish is granted."
Ultima Weapon (FF7, 8, 10): See here.
Uroburos (FF6): From Hiryuu: "Ouroboros is the depiction of a snake eating its own tail, first seen in Ancient Egypt. It is also found in many other mythoi, including Norse mythology, Hinduism and Gnosticism. It symbolizes the cyclical nature of the universe, how life comes from and depends on death and vice versa. Some incarnations of ouroboros depict the snake as half black and half white, which, not unlike a yin yang, symbolize the necessity and interdependence of good and evil in the universe."
Valaha (FFX): From Jennifer: Valaha may be a misspelling of Varaha, the boar incarnation of the Hindu god, Vishnu.
Valia Pira (FF9): From A.L.: This is very possibly a mistransliteration of "Barrier Pillar".
Varuna (FF10): From WTG3: Veruna (the fiend in the Omega Ruins that looks like Diablos) is the supreme god in the pre-Vedic Indian religion.
Vidatu (FF10): From Moogle Fan: Asto Vidatu was the Persian and Zorastrian demon of death.
Voivre (FF10): A French dragon goddess (the name comes from ancient Gaulic for "snake"). She supposedly lives as a white snake under elder trees; she acts as guardian of treasures and guide to the Otherworld. (From Michael Robinson.)
Vysage (FF8): Moogle Fan mentions the English word "visage", meaning face.
Warg (FF1): According to weapon_x_33:Wargs were intellgent wolf-like creatures in Tolkien's LOTR. Also, the word Warg likely comes from the Old Norse "vargr" meaning 'wolf' anf 'outlaw'.
Wendigo (FF8): Moogle Fan again: "In Hindu mythology, the Wendigo is an evil spirit that can possesses humans, and can thus transform humans into monsters. In Native American myth, the Wendigo is an evil spirit that flies down from the sky and attacks people that do evil deeds; it pulls the person up by the hair and then throws them into the sky."
Xbalanque adds: "In the American midwest, it was usually portrayed as a giant man clothed in white with a star on its forehead. If you saw one, one of your family members would die. Certain Native American groups still claim to see this monster."
Whelk (FF6): A whelk is an extremely large sea snail. It can grow to a size of 16 inches.
Wingraptor (FF5): A raptor is a bird of prey, and there's a dinosaur called "velociraptor". "Raptor" was hardly a household word until Michael Crichton popularized them in his book Jurassic Park.
Wolfmeister (FF7): A.L. says: This is a mangling of Wolframiter (the name given in Japan). Wolframite is a crystalline ore composed of huebnerite and ferberite.
WrexSoul (FF6): Hroþgar writes: It is a mispelling of AlexSoul from the Japanese version of FF6, which is obviously a combination of Alex(ander) and Soul; it is the monsterwho provides the Esper Alexander.
Wyvern (4a, 6): The Wyvern guarded one of the really powerful weapons in the Lunar Subterrane of FF4. A Wyvern is a breed of monster; half dragon and half eagle. He's called Dark Bahamut in the import and also appears in FF6 on the Lethe River.
Xiphos (FF10): From Moogle Fan: This is Greek for "sword". Note that Espada is a palette swap of it. 8-)
Yowie (FF10): From Michael Robinson: "The Yowie-Whowie, a creature of Australian legend; described as a dragon. It's like a lizard with a armored body & six legs. It lairs in the cool shadows of caves during the day, & hunts at night. Ideal prey is a human, which it can gulp down with about two bites."
Zarich (FFX-2): From Michael Robinson: "This is a Daeva who is the personification of aging."
Ziggurat Gigas (FF5): A ziggurat is a kind of tower; it's also from Mesopotamian culture. I believe that they were built by followers of Zoroaster. (The PSX version had this as an unimaginative "Ultragigas"). Sentinelprime666 elaborates: "A Ziggurat is a tower made by man to prove that they are powerfull, like gods(in some cases more powerfull then gods) and often put fear into the peasents and enemies. Alegdly God grew angry at this and sent angels down to destroy them(or something along those lines) The Mayan and Aztec temples where often regarded as Ziggurats."
Zu/Zuu (various): From Chaos2K: Zu was a demonic tempest bird from Mesopotamian mythology. It lived in the underworld and stole the tablets of fate from Enlil, a major Mesopotamian deity. Zu was defeated by a god, Marduk, or in some versions, was overcome by Enlil's son Ninurta.
Zurvan (FFX-2): weapon_x_33 informs that this is a god of space and time in Persian mythos. Apparently, this god also begat both Ahriman and the Ahura Mazda.