One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In Welsh mythology: an aquatic monster.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in Thomas Twyne (1543–1613), physician. From Welsh afanc, † afangc (also † addanc) aquatic monster, beaver from the same Celtic base (with a velar suffix) as Welsh afon, Middle Breton, Breton aven, Early Irish ab ( n -stem), all in sense ‘river’ from the same Indo-European base as classical Latin amnis river.
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