1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Harpoon
HARPOON (from Fr. harpon, a grappling-iron, O. Fr. harpe, a dog’s claw, an iron clamp for fastening stones together; the source of these words is the Lat. harpago, harpa, &c., formed from Gr. ἁρπαγή, hook, ἁρπάζειν, to snatch, tear away, cf. “harpy”), barbed spear, particularly one used for spearing whales or other large fish, and either thrown by hand or fired from a gun (see Whale-Fishery).