From: Daniel J. Milton
--- In email@example.com, "ualarauans" <ualarauans@...> wrote:
(in his list of Mayan words that have matches in other languages where
a genetic relation would be absurd): "and even xok [shok] 'shark'
Maybe not so absurd. I don't have the OED available, so this is
just from memory, but the first attested use of "shark" in English was
by someone who visited Sir John Hawkins' fleet when it returned to
London and wrote he had seen a dangerous-looking fish which the
sailors did call a "shark". I've read (in OED or elsewhere?) that
similar German words suggest that what we think of as slang for a
dangerous person may have been transferred to the fish rather than
vice versa. But Hawkins had just cruised along the coast of Mexico
America, and it's been suggested that the sailors got the name there
along with the fish.