July 1, 2006 2:58 AM   Subscribe

Totallyridicfilter: You know Grimace, the purple something in the McDonald's pantheon? What is he called in other languages and are any of them the translation of the word "grimace"?
posted by josher71 to Society & Culture (21 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

He's "Grimace" (well, グリマス (gurimasu)) in Japan. No meaning.
Ronald McDonald's name, however, is different: It's Donald McDonald.
posted by Bugbread at 4:09 AM on July 1, 2006

The german Wikipedia page on McDonald's says that Grimace is called Grimace in Germany. I presume that goes for Austria, too.

That was rather difficult to find...I couldn't turn up anything on McDonald's own german site. They really must be phasing out the other characters.
posted by jedicus at 5:56 AM on July 1, 2006

In Finnish, he's known as Virnu, which I'm pretty sure doesn't mean anything. The word for 'grimace' in Finnish is 'irvistys.'
posted by hazelshade at 6:04 AM on July 1, 2006

If remember well, the name in French (Canada) is "Grosse Douceur", which means "Big Sweet". Surprising, since grimace is a French word that has a similar meaning than the English word.
posted by bluefrog at 6:11 AM on July 1, 2006

Here in the Netherlands... I can't remember ever seeing any McDonald's related characters beside Ronald. Either they stopped using them here before my time, or they are really bad at advertising them.
posted by Harry at 7:12 AM on July 1, 2006

I had a toy from a Dutch McDonalds way back when (1987?) that was Grimace on a skateboard, but I had no idea what his name was then. I referred to the toy as "purple McDonalds thing on a skateboard" whenever it needed mention (as in "Where is my..."). I don't think his name was ever used anywhere ever. Just the image. The only name I knew was of Ronald McDonald.
posted by easternblot at 7:22 AM on July 1, 2006

Chinese: 滑嘟嘟 - Hua2 Du1 Du1 - Smooth Toot Toot?!??!

Also, Ronald McDonald is Uncle McDonald.
posted by steveminutillo at 8:22 AM on July 1, 2006

The German Wikipedia page linked above lists the English names, not the German ones - for example, the hamburglar is called Hamburger-Klau in German. Grimace was also called Shaky here (I haven't seen any sign of that character in a looong time).
posted by Skybly at 8:59 AM on July 1, 2006

One of the things you may notice is that the reason why a lot of places may have changed Grimace's name is that he was a bad guy when he first appeared, but was redeemed by the holy light of McDonald's love (and golden fries). As such, a name like Grimace (with obvious negative connotation) might not fit in places where he was introduced as a good guy.
posted by klangklangston at 9:27 AM on July 1, 2006

I'd always thought Grimace was an odd name because it appeared to have nothing to do with the convention of naming everything either directly after the food (The Hamburgler) or after McDonalds itself (Mayor McCheese, Ronald McDonald). But then i realized it's Grimace, which plays on the same "mac" construction as the much-revered Big Mac. So it makes sense to call him Shaky (as in milkshakes) in Brazil and Germany and elsewhere because the name Grimace is actually secondary to the sneaky use of "mac" hidden inside.
posted by mochapickle at 12:43 PM on July 1, 2006

This is EXACTLY what AskMe is for. Awesome.
posted by clockzero at 2:10 PM on July 1, 2006 [1 favorite]

because the name Grimace is actually secondary to the sneaky use of "mac" hidden inside.

Huh. I always wondered why they named him Grimace.
I wish they're weren't phasing out the other characters. Ronald is the least appealing of the group.
Vanilla milkshake....Yuuuuum.
posted by Radio7 at 4:08 PM on July 1, 2006

For a question of this nature, you are absolutely required to disclose why you asked. Why would anyone possibly need to know this?
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 7:04 PM on July 1, 2006

This is the best question ever asked.
posted by bookish at 7:09 PM on July 1, 2006

Response by poster: Well, I'm actually in China on the beginning of a six month trip around the world and I happened to walk by a McDonald's and I thought about how I'd read in 'zine once that no one was really sure what the hell Grimace was. Someone suggested that he was perhaps a droplet of shake which is apparently the case ("Shaky"). Anyway, I just got to wondering what his name was in other languages and decided that I'd ask here.

By the way, I can't tell if Clockzero is being sarcastic or not. Mr. or Ms. Zero?
posted by josher71 at 7:34 PM on July 1, 2006

Response by poster: Oh yeah, and the answers on here are excellent! Thanks!
posted by josher71 at 7:35 PM on July 1, 2006

Obviously they had to phase out Grimace.. How does it look for McDonald's to have an obese mascot and how ridiculous would he look if they put him on a diet (wait a minute, I think I saw that commercial a couple of years ago).
posted by Chuckles at 8:07 PM on July 1, 2006

I don't know if Clockzero is being sarcastic or not, but I agree with what he typed, regardless of what he meant. This kind of question is good.

Also (and I apologize for being slightly off-topic), I wanted to add that, in Japan as well, the only McDonald's character that is actually used in commercials now is Donald McDonald. The only time you might see Grimace, Hamburglar, etc., is maybe on a Happy Set toy.
posted by Bugbread at 10:23 PM on July 1, 2006

Happy Set? as in Happy Meal? What else is it called?

God. I've boycotted Mickey D's for years and I am so interested in this thread.
posted by nadawi at 11:18 PM on July 1, 2006

He's Grimace too in Malaysia.
posted by divabat at 6:39 PM on July 3, 2006

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