1680s (Hakluyt, 1560s, has Malestrand), name of a famous whirlpool off the northwest coast of Norway, from Danish malstrøm (1673), from older Dutch Maelstrom (modern maalstroom), literally "grinding-stream," from malen "to grind" (from PIE root *mele- "to crush, grind") + stroom "stream" (from PIE root *sreu- "to flow"). The name was used by Dutch cartographers (for example Mercator, 1595). OED says perhaps originally from Færoic mal(u)streymur. Popularized as a synonym for "whirlpool" c. 1841, the year of Poe's "A Descent into the Maelstrom."
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