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Why is a hockey puck called a puck?

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April 17, 2012 9:15PM

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word "puck" is derived from the Scottish Gaelic "puc" or the Irish "poc" which mean to poke, punch or deliver a blow.These words were used in the game of hurling. Scottish and Irish settlers to Canada played hurling and probably used these terms in connection with the game. According to some accounts, early hockey was essentially "hurling on ice", so the name was probably used for the object, "the puck" as used in early hockey. The OED gives the earliest written use of the word in 1891, in Canada, by which time hockey was well-established.

An old Canadian word for informal hockey is "shinny" which comes from Scottish "shinty", the Scottish form of hurling.