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, etc., formed from Gr. aprajri, hook, apwantiv, 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).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)