Online Encyclopedia

KAYAK, or CAYAK

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 703 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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KAYAK, or CAYAK, an Eskimo word for a fishing boat, in common use from Greenland to Alaska. It has been erroneously derived from the Arabic calque, supposed to have been applied to the native boats by early explorers. The boat is made by covering a light wooden framework with sealskin. A hole is pierced in the centre of the top of the boat, and the kayaker (also dressed in sealskin) laces himself up securely when seated to prevent the entrance of water. The kayak is propelled like a canoe by a double-bladed paddle. The name kayak is properly only applied to the boat used by an Eskimo man—that used by a woman is called an umiak.
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