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An Adelie Penguin


Unknown origin[1]. Possibly from Welsh pen ("head") and gwyn ("white"), or from Latin pinguis ("fat"). See citations and the Wikipedia page.



penguin ‎(plural penguins)

  1. Any of several flightless sea birds, of order Sphenisciformes, found in the Southern Hemisphere; marked by their usual upright stance, walking on short legs, and (generally) their stark black and white plumage. [from 16th c.]
    • 1638, Thomas Herbert, Some Yeares Travels, I:
      Here are also birds cal'd Pen-gwins (white-head in Welch) like Pigmies walking upright, their finns or wings hanging very orderly downe like sleeves [...].
  2. (slang) A nun (because of the black and white habit).
  3. (juggling) A type of catch where the palm of the hand is facing towards the leg with the arm stretched downward, resembling the flipper of a penguin.
  4. A spiny bromeliad with egg-shaped fleshy fruit, Bromelia pinguin.

Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ T.F. Hoad, Concise Dictionary of English Etymology, ISBN 978-0-19-283098-2; headword penguin

External links[edit]