No, Cameroon the country wasn't named after a guy called Cameron. It's not even an indigenous appellation, as some might assume. Nope, it's a shortening of Portuguese rio dos camaroes, or "river of shrimp", which was named for the obvious reason that the Portuguese found shrimps in the local rivers, and, delighted, they named the whole region after them. Well, sonce shrimp look like midget lobsters, camaroes derives from the Latin word cammarus, or "lobster". This in fact is from a Greek word with multiple forms (including kammaris, kamaros, kammoron, and kammoros) and multiple definitions: it meant both "lobster" and "shrimp", displaying a sort of regression that occurred as the word evolved. Kammoros, which seemingly was the most common form, is probably from Pre-Greek, then Proto-Hellenic, then PIE, as many Greek words are. Kammoros also lead to future words such as Italian gambero ("prawn"), Spanish camaron ("shrimp"), and other words for "shrimp" in less significant tongues.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.