Oh, the irony: ‘Twitter’ used to be whaling slang | The creation of designer Yiying Lu, the “fail whale” has become pretty much iconic among Web geeks.

Caroline McCarthy of Cnet Wrote and interesting article about Twitter. Whenever Twitter’s servers take a tumble–which, longtime users undoubtedly recall, used to be pretty frequently–the microblogging service brings up an image of a whale being lifted out of the water by a flock of birds. The creation of designer Yiying Lu, the “fail whale” has become pretty much iconic among Web geeks.

But the official blog of the New Bedford Whaling Museum in New Bedford, Mass., has informed us all that the word “twitter” was associated with whales long before Evan Williams and Biz Stone were dealing with customer complaints, sort of like how “muggles” was pothead slang decades before “Harry Potter” came along.

“Twitter,” believe it or not, once referred to an obscure piece of sperm whale anatomy that was typically only encountered when whalers were chopping up one of the unfortunate creatures. Rest and The Source