Etymology
Advertisement
wharf (n.)

late Old English hwearf "shore, bank where ships can tie up," earlier "dam, embankment," from Proto-Germanic *hwarfaz (source also of Middle Low German werf "mole, dam, wharf," German Werft "shipyard, dockyard"); related to Old English hwearfian "to turn," perhaps in a sense implying "busy activity," from PIE root *kwerp- "to turn, revolve" (source also of Old Norse hverfa "to turn round," German werben "to enlist, solicit, court, woo," Gothic hvairban "to wander," Greek karpos "wrist," Sanskrit surpam "winnowing fan"). Wharf rat is from 1812 as "type of rat common on ships and docks;" extended sense "person who hangs around docks" is recorded from 1836.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
wharfinger (n.)
"operator or manager of a wharf," 1550s, from wharfage "provision or accommodation at wharves" (mid-15c.), from wharf + agent noun suffix -er (1) + unetymological -n- as in messenger.
Related entries & more 
Antwerp 
port city in Belgium, French Anvers, from a Germanic compound of *anda "at" + *werpum "wharf" (see wharf). Folk etymology connects the first word with hand.
Related entries & more 
carpus (n.)
"wrist, wrist-joint, bones of the wrist," 1670s, from Modern Latin carpus, from Greek karpos "wrist," which is probably related to Germanic verbs for "turn, revolve" (see wharf).
Related entries & more 
varve (n.)
"annual deposit of silt in a lake bed," 1912, from Swedish varv "turn, layer," related to Old Norse hverfa, Old English hwerfan "to turn round" (see wharf).
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
whirl (v.)
c. 1300, probably from Old Norse hvirfla "to go round, spin," related to hvirfill "circle, ring, crown," and to Old English hweorfan "to turn" (see wharf). Related: Whirled; whirling. Whirlybird "helicopter" is from 1951.
Related entries & more 
whir (v.)
c. 1400, Scottish, "fling, hurl," probably from Old Norse hvirfla, frequentative of hverfa "to turn" (see wharf). Compare Danish hvirvle, Dutch wervelen, German wirbeln "to whirl." Related: Whirred; whirring.
Related entries & more 
fender (n.)
late 13c., shortening of defender. Originally something hung over the side to protect the hull of a ship at a wharf, pier, etc. Of fireplaces since 1680s; of automobiles from 1919. Fender-bender "minor automobile accident" is from 1958.
Related entries & more 
quay (n.)

"landing place, place where vessels are loaded and unloaded, a wharf," 1690s, a spelling variant of Middle English key, keye, caye "wharf" (c. 1300; mid-13c. in place names), from Old North French cai (Old French chai, 12c., Modern French quai) "sand bank," from Gaulish caium (5c.), from Old Celtic *kagio- "to encompass, enclose" (source also of Welsh cae "fence, hedge," Cornish ke "hedge"), from PIE root *kagh- "to catch, seize; wickerwork, fence" (see hedge (n.)). Spelling altered in English by influence of French quai.

Related entries & more 
key (n.2)
"low island," 1690s, from Spanish cayo "shoal, reef," from Taino (Arawakan) cayo "small island;" spelling influenced by Middle English key "wharf" (c. 1300; mid-13c. in place names), from Old French kai "sand bank" (see quay).
Related entries & more