Etymology Word of the Week – As some of you know, in addition to working in the Admissions Office, I also teach Latin at Saint Ignatius and am something of a "word nerd." Thus, each week, I’ll sneak a vocabulary word (sometimes derived from Latin, sometimes not) into the e-blast. Here then is this week’s edition of the Etymology Word of the Week.
Narwhal - “sea-unicorn, dolphin-like Arctic sea mammal; a small Arctic whale, the male of which has a long, spirally twisted tusk extending forward from the upper jaw.” Possibly from the Old Norse nahvalr meaning “corpse-whale” (na meaning corpse and hvalr meaning whale). Apparently, the mammal looked like a dead body to some due to its ghastly whitish color. Some linguists, however, believe this is “folk” etymology and the word simply means “whale distinguished by a long, narrow projection.” (All information is from www.wikipedia.org, www.etymonline.com and/or www.dictionary.com)
RELATED WORDS/PHRASES – whale