walruses

walrus

[wawl-ruhs, wol-]
noun, plural walruses (especially collectively) walrus.
a large marine mammal, Odobenus nosmarus, of arctic seas, related to the seals, and having flippers, a pair of large tusks, and a tough, wrinkled skin.

Origin:
1645–55; < Dutch: literally, whale horse; cognate with German Walross, Danish hvalros; compare Old English horshwæl horse-whale

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World English Dictionary
walrus (ˈwɔːlrəs, ˈwɒl-)
 
n , pl -ruses, -rus
a pinniped mammal, Odobenus rosmarus, of northern seas, having a tough thick skin, upper canine teeth enlarged as tusks, and coarse whiskers and feeding mainly on shellfish: family Odobenidae
 
[C17: probably from Dutch, from Scandinavian; compare Old Norse hrosshvalr (literally: horse whale) and Old English horschwæl; see horse, whale]

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Word Origin & History

walrus
1655, from Du. walrus, which was probably a folk-etymology alteration (by influence of Du. walvis "whale" and ros "horse") of a Scand. word, such as O.N. rosmhvalr "walrus," hrosshvalr "a kind of whale," or rostungr "walrus." O.E. had horschwæl, and later morse, from Lapp morsa or Finnish mursu,
which may ult. be the source, much garbled, of the first element in O.N. rosmhvalr.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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