verb (used with object)
- harpers ferry,
- harpoon gun,
- harpy eagle,
Origin of harpoon
Examples from the Web for harpoon
The Pilot turned the head of the pinnace, and Jack immediately threw his harpoon.Willis the Pilot|Johanna Spyri
Walrus after walrus was shot by Nansen, while Henriksen was busy with his harpoon to prevent them sinking.Fridtjof Nansen|Jacob B. Bull
While his comrades despaired of his life, the harpoon by which he held at length disengaged itself from the body of the whale.American Merchant Ships and Sailors|Willis J. Abbot
I asked the captain if he had a harpoon, and he brought me one.My Life in Many States and in Foreign Lands|George Francis Train
As soon as the first seals are caught with the harpoon the deer skins are prepared.The Central Eskimo|Franz Boas
- a barbed missile attached to a long cord and hurled or fired from a gun when hunting whales, etc
- (as modifier)a harpoon gun
Word Origin for harpoon
1610s, from French harpon, from Old French harpon "cramp iron, clamp, clasp" (described as a mason's tool for fastening stones together), from harper "to grapple, grasp," possibly of Germanic origin, or from Latin harpa- "hook" (cf. harpagonem "grappling hook," from Greek *harpagon, related to harpe "sickle"). Earlier harping-iron (mid-15c.). Sense and spelling perhaps influenced by Dutch (cf. Middle Dutch harpoen) or Basque, the language of the first whaling peoples, who often accompanied English sailors on their early expeditions. Also see -oon.
1774, from harpoon (n.). Related: Harpooned; harpooning. For agent-noun forms, harpooner is from 1726; harpooneer from 1610s.