The genus name Taraxacum is derived from the Greek taraxos (disorder), and akos (remedy). The officinale indicates that this was once an official remedy. The name dandelion is derived from its original Greek genus name leontodon, meaning lion’s teeth. Many sources state that the name dandelion is derived from the French dent-de lion or lions tooth this may refer to the jagged edges of the leaves. This French name may well have derived from the Greek. Several other European languages share this meaning, such as the Welsh dant y llew, Italian dente di leone, Catalan dent de lleó, Spanish diente de león, Portuguese dente-de-leão,Norwegian Løvetann, Danish Løvetand and German Löwenzahn.
In reference to the plant’s diuretic properties its old English folk-name was ‘piss-a-bed ‘ and the French still call the plant pissenlit, (or pisse au lit Fr vernacular) as do the Italians piscialletto. In various north-eastern Italian dialects the plant is known as pisacan (“dog pisses”), combining its diuretic qualities and referring to how common they are found at the side of pavements.
In several European languages the seed head stage of the plant is celebrated in its name. For example Pusteblume German for “blowing flower”), soffione (Italian for “blowing”; in some northern Italian dialects), dmuchawiec (Polish, derived from the verb “blow”), одуванчик (Russian, derived from the verb “blow”). Incidentally this term is also used to refer to elderly persons explained as those so frail that a breath of wind might blow them away
In other languages the plant is named after the white sap found in its stem, e.g. Mlecz (derived from the Polish word for “milk”), mælkebøtte (Danish for “milk pot”) kutyatej (Hungarian for “dog milk”), маслачак (derived from the Serbian word маслац, meaning “butter)] Also the Lithuanian name kiaulpienė can be translated as “sow milk”], and similarly, in Latvian it is called ‘pienene, the word being derived from piens – milk.
The alternative Hungarian name gyermekláncfű (“child’s chain grass”), refers to the habit of children to pick dandelions, remove the flowers, and make links out of the stems by “plugging” the narrow top end of the stem into the wider bottom end.
In Macedonian, it’s called глуварче, stemming from the word глув, which means deaf, because of a traditional belief that dandelion parachutes can cause deafnesss.
In Finnish and Estonian, it is called voikukka and võilill, respectively, meaning “butter flower”, referring to its buttery colour
In Dutch it is called paardenbloem, meaning “horse-flower”.]
In Chinese it is called pú gōng yīng (蒲公英), meaning flower that grows in public spaces by the riverside.] In Japanese, it is tanpopo (タンポポ?).