Word Origin & History
O.E. hearpe, from P.Gmc. *kharpon- (cf. O.N. harpa, Du. harp, O.H.G. harpfa). L.L. harpa, source of words in some Romanic languages, is a borrowing from P.Gmc. The verb is O.E. hearpian. Figurative sense of "talk overmuch about" first recorded 1510s, originally to harp upon one string. Related: Harped;
harping. The harp seal (1784) is so called for the harp-shaped markings on its back.