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borrowed from New Latin Betta, genus name, borrowed from Javanese betah (phonetically b̥ətah with breathy voice following b̥), in the phrase wader betah (wader "any of various freshwater fishes"), probably the same word as betah "endure" (going back to Old Javanese bĕtah "possessing staying power, tenacious, stubborn")
The genus name Betta was introduced by the Dutch physician and ichthyologist Pieter Bleeker (1819-78) in "Bijdrage tot de kennis der ichthyologische fauna van Midden- en Oost-Java," Verhandelingen van het Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en Wetenschapen, Deel 23 (1850), p. 14. Bleeker lists the local name (nomen indigenum) of his Betta trifasciata at Ambarawa (central Java) as "Ikan Wader betta" (with Malay ikan "fish" prefacing all the indigenous names).