"also" (obsolete), from Old English eac, from Proto-Germanic *auke (source also of Old Saxon, Old Dutch ok, Old Norse and Gothic auk, Old Frisian ak, Old High German ouh, German auch "also"); probably related to eke (v.).
North Atlantic seabird, the sea-parrot or bottle-nosed auk, mid-14c., poffoun, perhaps connected with puff on some quality of its appearance, or from some Celtic word (the earliest association is with Cornwall and Scilly) and altered by influence of puff.
1570s, originally used of the great auk of Newfoundland (now extinct; the last two known birds were killed in 1844); the shift in meaning to the Antarctic swimming bird (which looks something like it, observed by Drake in Magellan's Straits in 1578) is from 1580s. The word itself is of unknown origin, though it often is asserted to be from Welsh pen "head" (see pen-) + gwyn "white" (see Gwendolyn). The great auk had a large white patch between its bill and eye. The French and Breton versions of the word ultimately are from English. A similarity to Latin pinguis "fat (adj.), juicy," figuratively "dull, gross, heavy," has been noted.