What Does Acura Mean? The Origins & Meaning Of The Acura Name

Over several decades, Acura has built a solid reputation for taking Honda’s already excellent reliability, quality and pursuit of driving enjoyment, and packaging this in a more luxurious form.

Although Lexus is probably the most well known of the Japanese luxury “export brands”, Acura actually came first with the release of the Legend and the Integra in 1986 – Toyota didn’t launch Lexus and the LS400 until 1989.

These days, Acura – just like Lexus – is a byword for quality, reliability and integrity.

But what does the word “Acura” mean and what is the origin story of the Acura brand name?

In this article, we are going to find out.

The Official Story Of Acura’s Meaning

There are actually a couple of different theories as to what Acura means – but only one is officially correct.

The first and officially-correct theory is that the name stems from the Latin acu – which means “done with precision” or “mechanically precise”.

This would make perfect sense for a brand that is all about mechanical precision.

Reinforcing this theory is that it is mentioned – albeit not particularly prominently – on the Acura.com website.

There is a page entitled “Acu is where we started”, with the following image:

This theory therefore ties nicely with the Acura logo – which is derived from a caliper tool that is meant to allow for the utmost of precision and accuracy.

Back in 2014, the official Acura Twitter page also posted this Tweet:

One interesting thing to note here is that the literal translation from Latin to English of “Acu” is not actually as Acura claims:


However, the broader meaning (particularly of “acutus”) is around ‘making sharp’ which could be translated to making precise.

Another Naming Theory

Another theory is that Acura actually comes from the Japanese word ‘Akira’ – meaning intelligence or wisdom. The Japanese division of Honda referred internally to the Acura “project” as Akira.

The second theory makes a lot of sense as well, but considering that the official Acura website refers to the acu theory, then we had better trust what comes from the horse’s mouth!

Recap – What Does Acura Mean?

According to Acura, the name comes from the Latin word acu meaning mechanical precision.

This brand name is a deliberate choice meant to invoke an image of precision, reliability and integrity. This flows through to the Acura logo – derived from a caliper tool – which reinforces that image of precision.

Although another theory abounds – that Acura is a modified form of the Japanese word Akira, which was the internal reference to the Acura project/brand – it makes sense to stick with the official story .

It wouldn’t be surprising to hear that there are even more theories out there as to what Acura means – what other stories have you heard? Feel free to leave a comment below, we would love to hear from you.

While you’re here, you might also like to read our article on what Lexus means for information on the meaning and origin story of another popular Japanese luxury car brand.


  • Ben

    From his early days playing the original Gran Turismo and with his Hot Wheels car set, Ben has had a long interest in all things automotive. His first foray into the world of automotive journalism was way back in 2009 and since then he has only grown more interested in the industry. Ben also runs and heads up the video production side of Garage Dreams, focusing on small informative documentaries about some of the world's most legendary cars.

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