It's kind of a strange story. In an early form of notation there were two kinds of notes, long and short. "Longa" means "long" and "breve" means short.
So the longest note you are ever likely to see in modern music (twice as long as the longest note you usually see) is a "short".
At some point someone needed a shorter note than the short, thus the "half short", or semi-breve.
That wasn't short enough, so the smallest possible, or minimal, note was invented: the minim.
Which still wasn't short enough. A note was invented that looked like a small hook, thus "crotchet". The next smaller note could be used to represent a quavery sound, and after that they just went with every synonym for "half" they could find.
It's like money inflation, but in reverse. Notation deflation. There was a time when you could buy a good meal for a penny and sing four breves in one second. Now a semi-breve is enough for a full second at MM crotchet=120 and a penny won't buy you half a biscuit.
I decided to look for evidence of my assertions, so I got out the Oxford English Dictionary which gives dated examples of early use of words. You can't count on it for the very earliest use of a word but it is helpful.
"Maxima", "longa", "breve" and "minim" (longest, long, short, shortest) seem to have appeared around the same time, with a citation of "minim" and "maxima" from 1440 and "longa" and "breve" from 1460. Also "crotchet" appears in 1440 defined as "semiminima". That would appear to indicate that at the same time they defined the shortest note, they also defined a shorter one!
"Semibreve" appears in 1594; "quaver" in 1570 and "semiquaver" in 1576. I don't know what the relation of breve and minim was in 1460; perhaps the minim was half of the breve and later became one quarter of the breve. An expert in early music notation can clear this up for us.
In 1706, someone named Phillips defines "demisemiquaver" as "The least note in music." By this time of course Bach was using as many beams as he needed so there was no such thing as a "least" note; any note could be split in two.
The OED defines "hemidemisemiquaver" as an example in the entry for "hemi-" but does not give any citation.