Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Goose by Any Other Name is Not a Goose

If you've ever wondered where the term, "penguin," originated, this little blurb admits that the sailor who named them, probably didn't even see a penguin, but that the name stuck anyway. Read on: 

The new Oxford English, launched online yesterday, says that while penguins were being referred to as gare-fowl in the far north of Europe, the Welsh coined the term from two words – pen (head) and gwyn (white).
The first written citation is in 1577 from the log of the Golden Hind – Sir Francis Drake’s ship.

It reads: “Infinite were the Numbers of the foule, the Welsh men name Pengwin & Maglanus tearmed them Geese.”

But this has long divided language researchers with some doubting whether the word’s origins are Welsh because penguins tend to have black rather than white heads.


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