a spear or javelin used to strike and kill large fish, as whales; a harping iron. It consists of a long shank, with a broad, fiat, triangular head, sharpened at both edges, and is thrown by hand, or discharged from a gun. Harpoon fork, a kind of hayfork, consisting of bar with hinged barbs at one end a loop for a rope at the other end, used for lifting hay from the load by horse power. Harpoon gun, a gun used in the whale fishery for shooting the harpoon into a whale.
Origin: f. Harpon, LL. Harpo, perh. Of Ger. Origin, fr. The harp; cf. F. Harper to take and grasp strongly, harpe a dogs claw, harpin boathook (the sense of hook coming from the shape of the harp); but cf. Also gr. The kite, sickle, and E. Harpy. Cf. Harp.