Word Origin & History
M.E. lappewinke (late 14c.), lapwyngis (early 15c.), folk etymology alteration of O.E. hleapewince, lit. "leaper-winker," from hleapan "to leap" + wince "totter, waver, move rapidly," related to wincian "to wink." Said to be "in reference to its irregular flapping manner of flight" [Barnhart], but the
lapwing also flaps around on the ground pretending to have a broken wing to lure egg-hunters away from its nest, which seems a more logical explanation. Its Gk. name was polyplagktos "luring on deceitfully."