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What’s in a word – Walrus

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What’s in a word – Walrus? Have you ever wondered?

We read about the history of the word ‘penguin‘ before. Today, let’s find out where the word ‘walrus’ comes from.

Do you know who a walrus is? You may have seen it on TV. It is a big, gentle marine mammal that can weigh about 2000 kg! It has flippers, whiskers and tusks.

How did ‘Walrus’ name come about?

  • The word ‘walrus’ seems to have come from the Old Norse word hrossvalr meaning ‘horse whale’. Old Norse was the language of the Vikings or Norsemen. They lived 100s of years ago in what is present-day Denmark, Sweden and Norway.
  • The word hrossvalr is thought to have then been passed in an inverted form to the Danish language hvalros or Swedish valross, which in turn became ‘walrus’ in English.

 

Vikings

Who came upon this word’s history?

  • Its origin was discovered by J.R.R. Tolkien, the famous writer who wrote many books such as the Lord of the Rings and more.
  • Tolkien was an English professor. Before he started writing books, he also worked on the first-ever Oxford English Dictionary. The origin of the word ‘walrus’ was first given here.

Here is a lovely video to know more about walruses:

 

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