- A type of conically-shaped buoy.
Probably earlier than the early 16th century. Possibly from the early English word, nun, for a child’s top that tapered at the end. Previously from Old English, nunna.
While Rogers writes that it came from the word for a toy top, I was always under the impression that it also referred to the shape of a nun’s habit.
Kemp, P. (1994). The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea. Oxford University Press.
Rogers, J.G. (1985). Origins of Sea Terms. Mystic Seaport.