The Irish name for the great auk is 'falcóg mhór'. The Basque name is arponaz, meaning "spearbill". Its early French name was apponatz. The Norse called the great auk geirfugl, which led to an alternative English common name for the bird, "garefowl"/ "gairfowl". The Inuit name for the great auk was isarukitsok. The word "penguin" first appears in the 16th century as a synonym for "great auk." It may be derived from the Welsh pen gwyn "white head", although the etymology is debated.