Words related to pen-
"Welsh warlord" (mainly known now via Arthurian romances as the title of Uther Pendragon), late 15c., title of a chief leader in war of ancient Britain or Wales, who were invested with dictatorial powers in times of great danger, from pen "head" (see pen-) + dragon, which figured on the standard of a cohort.
American colony, later U.S. state, 1681, literally "Penn's Woods," a hybrid formed from the surname Penn (Welsh, literally "head") + Latin sylvania (see sylvan). Not named for William Penn, the proprietor, but, on suggestion of Charles II, for Penn's late father, Admiral William Penn (1621-1670), who had lent the king the money that was repaid to the son in the form of land for a Quaker settlement in America. The story goes that the younger Penn wanted to call it New Wales, but the king's secretary, a Welshman of orthodox religion, wouldn't hear of it. Pennsylvania Dutch (adj.) in reference to the German communities of the state, which retained their customs and language, is attested from 1824.
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.