• Gtravels.? It seems to be a word that has no clear origin, too many different roots. I will continue to search
    • Bootsiebaby
      Your user name reminds me of Gtravels herself. Lol :)
  • One theory is that the bird was originally called the 'pin-wing', with reference to its curiously rudimentary wings.
  • It's an anglicised form of a phonetically similar Welsh phrase "pen gwyn" (apparently meaning "white head").
    • bostjan64
      I don't believe this is correct, but I have heard that etymology shared before. It is true that "pen" in Welsh Gaelic means "head," and "gwyn" means "white." It is also true that the Welsh may have encountered the Great Auk (see my answer below). But, there is no evidence that the Welsh either encountered penguins, nor that they ever referred to the Great Auk as "pen gwyn." It should be noted that the head of the Great Auk is actually dark brown (bordering on black), not white, even though it's belly is white. It'd make more sense if they were called bolguins, since "bol" is the Welsh Gaelic word for belly. Even assuming that Welsh people encountered the Great Auk and mistook its belly for its head and then called it "pen gwyn," the odds of that term jumping from Welsh to other languages are strikingly low. Virtually no modern English words were influenced by Welsh.
    • Bootsiebaby
      Well, you look it up yourself then. I was only trying to help. Just before you look, check out the questions on this site. There's a very questionable question about you on it.
  • Oh, I know this one. It's a bit convoluted, though. There was a bird (now extinct) that was large, black and white, flightless, and lived in the Arctic. It was called the Great Auk, in English, but it was called Penguinus in Latin, meaning "fat creature." In fact, in English, some people called them Penguins, based on the Latin influence on the language. But, when explorers from Italy, Spain, and Portugal, whose languages were inspired by Latin, rather than by English, first made it to the south seas, they encountered penguins and named them such, simply by mistaking them for the other birds (which looked similar but were genetically diverse from penguins). By the time English people were seriously exploring the South Seas, the great auk was extinct and the penguin was not, so the Latin version of the misnamed bird stuck.
    • mushroom
      And here I thought it was a misspelling of Phan Nguyen.
    • bostjan64
      That'd be pronounced more like "fan win" or "fan when."

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