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geoduck

or gwe·duc

[ goo-ee-duhk ]
/ ˈgu iˌdʌk /
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noun

a very large, edible, saltwater clam of the genus Panope that burrows into the mud, feeding through a long siphon, the so-called neck, that extends upward: specimens of P. generosa(Pacific geoduck ), of the waters off western Canada and northwestern U.S., have been found to live more than 140 years, and some have exceeded a shell length of 10 inches (25 centimeters), a siphon length of 5 feet (1.5 meters), and a weight of 15 pounds (7 kilograms).

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Also called king clam .

Origin of geoduck

An Americanism dating back to 1880–85; from Lushootseed (formerly Puget Salish ) gwídəq, of uncertain meaning: either an element gwíd-, of uncertain origin + -əq “genitals” (from the resemblance of the siphon to a penis), or from a phrase meaning “dig deep” (because the mollusk buries itself up to three feet deep in sand, silt, or gravel)

historical usage of geoduck

All agree that the word geoduck originated in a Native American Salish language of the Pacific Northwest. Some say (as at Evergreen State College in Washington State where the official school mascot is a geoduck) that it means “dig deep,” but others say the final -əq of the Salish word gwídəq means “genitals.” Since ESC's motto is “Let It All Hang Out,” they seem happy to embrace both aspects of this unusual creature. How the [goo-ee] /ˈgu i/ sound came to be spelled geo is anyone's guess, but it's most likely a European interpretation of the Salish pronunciation.
What you choose to believe is up to you, but just don't call it a JEE-oh-duhk.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for geoduck

geoduck
/ (ˈdʒiːəʊˌdʌk) /

noun

Canadian a large edible clam

Word Origin for geoduck

from Chinook jargon
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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