from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The form of whalers' harpoon now in general use, having a movable blade instead of fixed barbs; the instrument used in first striking a whale (when explosives are not employed), for fastening it to the whale-boat by means of a tow-line, so that the boat may be hauled up to the whale, and the latter be killed by hand-lancing at close quarters, or by bomb-lancing at longer range.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
American whalemen never said harpoon, but toggle-iron, never 'There she blows' — because how can you tell a whale's sex from a spout on the horizon? — but 'there blows' or just 'Blo-o-ows.'