In 1743, we borrowed the word umiak from Denmark, and in 1757 we borrowed kajak from there. These terms are clearly not Germanic: they were in fact borrowed from the Danish colony of Greenland (which is STILL its colony, and NOT a country). A kajak, or later kayak, was a covered boat, and an umiak, which hasn't quite caught on to its brother's popularity, was basically the Eskimo equivalent of a canoe. Both of the words come from the Inuktitut language; kajak from quyaq, or "man's boat", and umiak from umiaq, or "woman's boat". These refer to the genders allowed to paddle each kind of vessel; there were surprisingly strict rules about that. Both words, as are basically all Inuktitut words, derive from the theorized Proto-Eskimo language. Usage of the word kayak is more than 30 times more prevalent than umiak, and it's increasing exponentially, while the latter is not.
Adam Aleksic is a 218-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam is anxiously awaiting his college rejections and loves writing about himself in the third person.
The Etymology Nerd