Where Does the Word “Tomahawk” Come From and What Does Tomahawk Mean In Native American?

First rendered by Captain John Smith as tomahack, the word “Tomahawk” first came into English through him from the Recape Indian dialect of Virginia, whose word for this all-purpose ax was tiimeihak, a shortened form of tamahakan, “cutting tool,” related to tiimiiham, “he cuts.”

Closely similar words are found in a number of other Indian dialects, for example in Pamptico (of the Carolinas), tornmahick; in Mohegan, tummahegan; in Delaware, tamoihecan; in Abenaki, tamahigan; in Micmac, tumeegun; in Passamaquoddy, tumhigen.

Captain Smith also reported the existence of a tool used as a pick-ax, which he named a tockahack, but there is no evidence that this was taken into English in general use.

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