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What Does BMW Stand For?

Updated on January 25, 2015
BMW's logo. Fair use as it is for educational purposes.
BMW's logo. Fair use as it is for educational purposes. | Source

I’ve heard it asked many, many times: What does BMW stand for? Chances are if you are ever asked this question, the person is referring to the German car manufacturer Bayerische Motoren Werke (German), or Bavarian Motor Works (English translation). While most die-hard BMW owners will already know this bit of information, everyone has to learn it at some point to join the club of true BMW owners and not look like such a noob!

Alternate Meanings: What BMW Stands For

Now that I feel that I’ve answered that question of “what does BMW stand for,” there’s actually a few other acronyms in case you were not asking about the wonderful car brand. With social networking at it’s most popular time ever, and growing, it seems like people can--and do--make an acronym for everything under the sun. If it can say a whole sentence in three or four letters, it’s probably already been said.

So, now that we are searching for additional possibilities for what BMW stands for, here’s a few to think about. Some are funny, some are just downright crude, so please keep in mind that I did not make these, rather,our fellow internet users!

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Other Meanings of BMW:

  • Big Meaty Wealthy

  • Body Made Well

  • Be My Witness

  • Beautiful Mexican Woman

  • Bio Medical Waste

  • Big Muscular Woman

  • Black Muscular Woman

  • Blacks, Muslims, Whites

  • Big Muscular White

  • Brings Me Women (BMW car owners might just joke!)

  • Bring More Whiskey

  • Boy Meets World

  • Born Moderately Wealthy

  • Bob Marley and the Wailers

  • Broke My Wallet

  • Beautiful Mysterious Wonder

  • Beautifully Made Wheels

  • Big Man Waddling

  • Big Man Walking

  • Beautiful Military Wife

  • Beyond My Wages

  • Bring More Women

  • Baby Making Weather

  • Be My Wife

  • Black Magic Woman

  • Broke Man’s Wish

Let’s just stick with what BMW stands for in English, and that’s Bavarian Motor Works. Got it?

The History of BMW

Now if you find yourself asking “what does BMW stand for,” then you might not be referring solely the acronym, but the company as a whole; therefore, here’s a bit of background on the Bavarian Motor Works (BMW) company!

1920 Helios motorcycle with BMW engine
1920 Helios motorcycle with BMW engine | Source

Before the BMW

According to the history page on, the company was established in 1916 by Karl Rapp and Gustav Otto. The company’s name was not always Bayerische Motoren Werke, though. It had started out as two separate companies eventually merging together in 1922. Otto’s company, Flag Maschinenfabrik Gustav Otto, meshed into Bayerische Flugzeug-Werke (BFW), and in 1917, Rapp’s company, Rapp Motorenwerke company, turned into Bayerische Motoren Werke GmbH and subsequently merged with Otto’s company.

The BMW i8 - a muscley hybrid!
The BMW i8 - a muscley hybrid! | Source

BMW had been solely building engines before they announced the release of their first motorcycle, the R 32 in 1923. In fact, the engine used in that motorcycle is the same engine used today’s BMW motorcycles as it is so mechanically sound! Imagine that. How many companies actually build things the way they did in the past? Durability and reliability are key.

Although BMW was making aircraft engines and motorcycles before cars, they began the manufacturing of automobiles in 1928 which is what they are most known for in America today. Auto manufacturing was almost put to a halt during WWII as BMW was made to manufacture materials for war support building aircraft engines. Finally, in 1951, BMW announced the release of it’s first post-WWII automobile, the 501.

Going by the BMW Wikipedia page, they continue to be headquartered in Munich, Bavaria and are the producers of those Mini cars and Rolls-Royce. They also produce those one-seater cars for Formula One races and very solid bicycles! With such a broad range of products offered, it’s no secret why they continue to be such a large and successful company worldwide today.

Who knew there was so much to know about BMW and it’s history? Digging into the past really gives you a lot of insight into a company and the drastic measures they had to take to remain successful despite many economic ups and downs. The more you know!


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    • profile image

      Stargrrl 2 years ago

      I love BMWs. I will never own one, but I love them. They are classy cars. Good hub.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 2 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Blasted mechanical wreck.

      Bit too flash for my liking. I've seen several pranged 'Beemers' (the name given in Britain) here and there. Aggressive BMW drivers tend to be off at the lights before they go green. Anticipation. There are also drivers who go through a red light - nowhere near the white line when the lights go amber - because they can't abide waiting for the next green. Put the two together and you have a traffic jam. Often one driver's in a 'Beemer', the other in an Audi or Merc. Doesn't usually happen to VW or Skoda drivers, or Volvo drivers.

      BMW also owned Land Rover for a while in the 90's, (bought them off British Aerospace, so I'm told. BMW sold it to Ford, who sold it on to an Indian firm. They're still made at Solihull). Early Land Rover Discovery's have German instructions on the engines, courtesy of BMW.

      ...Trouble is, I associate BMW and Munich with the Nazis ('don't mention ze war', remember 'Fawlty Towers'?).

    • teamrn profile image

      teamrn 2 years ago from Chicago

      Bavarian motor Works, like the sound of body made well!

    • gposchman profile image

      Gene Poschman 2 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

      I am sure it stands for something beyond what you have offered. I was a passenger in a BMW when the driver hit a bus, the good new is no one was hurt seriously, but the BMW knocked the bus over, and we were not going that fast. The adrenalin rush was such that every thing was in slow motion and I thought I was going to die. As the BMW spun around I realized I was going to survive. The front of the BMW was toast, but the cab was totally intact. The Bus was on its side. Funny thing is I do not want one, but they are well built, at least that one was.

      Gene Poschman

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Interesting and funny hub. Thanks for sharing all the possible things BMW stands for. I couldn't even think of Bavarian Motor Works.