Hammock Culture

4 Cool Facts About the Word Hammock

HammockHave you ever sat down and thought about the ‘hammock’? It’s kind of an interesting word that somehow ended up being adopted by the English language. Today, the word hammock is recognized all over the world. But little did you know that it did not originate in the US.

It’s Named After the Hamack Tree
The Mayans were probably the first to invent the suspended bed we now refer to as the “hammock”. They are comfortable  — a cooling draft can enter into the open space beneath the sleeper  — plus they protect you from snakes and other poisonous animals. The brilliant invention spread throughout both South and Central America. Most often, hammocks were made from the woven bark from the Hamack Tree — hence “hamacas”, which is what the indigenous people from the Caribbean called them in the Taino Language. Eventually, “hamaca”  was overheard by a famous Italian explorer…

Christopher Columbus was one of the First People to Write it Down
If you read Cristoforo Columbo’s (a.k.a. in English Christopher Columbus) journal of his first trip to the new world, you’ll come across this passage: “A great many Indians in canoes came to the ship to-day for the purpose of bartering their cotton, and hamacas or nets in which they sleep.” It’s likely the first time the word appeared in print. From Columbo, the word entered into Spanish, and then to English, through which it was Anglicized as “hammock”. Which is not to be confused with “Hammock”…

It’s an English Surname
Did you know that there are 166 Hammocks in Georgia, the American state with the highest concentration of Hammocks? The surname originates in Devon, England — half a world away from the hammocks in the New World. (Family motto: Praised by those who are praised.) Columbo became the first European to lay eyes on a hammock a couple of centuries after the first records of Hammocks appeared in the 13th Century. While hammocks experienced a worldwide surge in popularity once Columbus discovered them, Hammocks existed in relative obscurity — there’s no Hammocks in Maine, Nevada, Wyoming or South Dakota, for instance. There is no apparent etymological connection between “Hammock” and “hammocks”. But we can be fairly certain that if a Hammock ever lazed an afternoon in a hammock (perhaps in the shade of a Hamack Tree), that particular Hammock in the hammock would be the happiest Hammock in the world.

The Google Trend Graph for “Hammock” Searches Resembles a Shark’s Mouth
If you’re having a hard time trying to figure out if it’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere, try looking at the latest data on web searches for “hammock” in Google Trends. Are you on the tip of a sharp, shark-tooth crest of search popularity? Well then, summer is in full swing. Time to bust out your hammock and chill. Or are you currently in the between-teeth gums of the shark’s mouth? Well, I’m sorry, but summer is still a ways away. “Hammock” web search trends are unfailingly consistent — every June, people are like, It’s summer and I should be in a hammock that’s swaying to a gentle breeze. And a cold drink. I should google that…

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