The noun hammock was introduced to Europe by Christopher Columbus in the narrative of his first voyage, where he wrote "A great many Indians in canoes came to the ship to-day for the purpose of bartering their cotton, and hamacas, or nets, in which they sleep." The first English attestation was in Richard Eden's 1555 translation of Italian historian Peter Martyr d'Anghiera's The Decades of the Newe Worlde, where he also spelled it hamaca. Later forms included hamacco, hamacho, hamacoe, hamack, and hamock, and hammock was standardized by the eighteenth century. Columbus got the word from Taíno hamaka, which could refer to any kind of net, and that traces to a Proto-Arawak reconstruction that sounded the same way and may have more specifically meant "fish net".
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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.