The Galil is a type of automatic rifle developed in the 1960s for the Israeli military. It was invented by a man named Yisrael Balashnikov, and the gun was almost named the Balashnikov after him, but people didn't like that because it sounded too close to the infamous Russian Kalashnikov. So Yisrael, who wanted a name that would reflect his Jewish identity anyway, legally changed his name to Galili and then named the gun after himself. Galili is a reference to the Galilee region of Israel, which can literally translate to "district" or "cylinder" in Hebrew, ultimately deriving from the verb galil, meaning "encircle". Literary usage of the word Galil greatly increased in the 1980s, but began to decline when the rifle was phased out in the late 1990s.
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.