“Shark” Etymology

H/T to Oceana for pointing to this post by Deep Sea News:

Bailey’s Dictionary in 1724 used “scearan” as the likely origin for the word: a saxon term meaning “cut to pieces”. Webster took a different tack in his 1828 dictionary, accepting a theory that it comes from the greek word “carcharias” (sharp tooth), even though that word clearly has a typical Greek hard c sound, not the soft start of shark. These days, Oxford English Dictionary just says “of obscure origin” and to me that might be the best answer, if you insist on a European etymology. The major alternative explanation is that the word comes from the Yucatec Indian word “xoc”.


About these ads