Who doesn’t love that adorable, honey-loving, pants-less bear Winnie the Pooh? The always-kindhearted Pooh has been one of the most beloved characters in children’s literature and television since A.A. Milne published the first Winnie The Pooh story in 1926. But have you ever asked yourself, What exactly is a Pooh? If you have, you’re clearly more observant and inquisitive than I am, because I just realized that a Pooh isn’t a real thing.
Winnie the Pooh is technically a bear, so shouldn’t he be called Winnie the Bear? Well, it turns out that his original name did have the word “bear” in it — he was named Edward Bear. Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, does it? Also, let’s be frank — does this cuddly bear look like an Edward? No, no he does not.
3. Pooh Was Originally A Completely Different Animal
Milne introduced his 1924 book, When We Were Very Young, with an explanation of the name Pooh: “Christopher Robin, who feeds this swan in the mornings, has given him the name of ‘Pooh.’ This is a very fine name for a swan, because, if you call him and he doesn’t come (which is a thing swans are good at), then you can pretend that you were just saying ‘Pooh!’ to show him how little you wanted him.”
And now I think we should all start saying “Pooh!” to friends, family members, significant others and even strangers that ignore us.
In the first chapter of the very first Winnie The Pooh book, Milne explained the origins of the Pooh that we know and love today: “But his arms were so stiff ... they stayed up straight in the air for more than a week, and whenever a fly came and settled on his nose he had to blow it off. And I think—but I am not sure—that that is why he is always called Pooh."
Please tell me that you also just said “Pooh” repeatedly to assess whether or not this is a realistic way to blow a fly off your nose. (It kind of is, right?)
Now that we know where “Pooh” comes from, let’s talk about “Winnie.” Fortunately, the inspiration behind the name “Winnie” is much easier to follow. After visiting the London Zoo, where he saw a black bear named Winnie, Milne decided to fuse the names “Winnie” and “Pooh” together, and thus Winnie the Pooh was officially born.
Even after learning the reason behind Winnie the Pooh’s name, I’m still not entirely convinced I understand why the addition of “Pooh” was necessary. But hey, I can’t be too critical, since the name Winnie the Pooh clearly caught on quickly and has been a household name ever since.