Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Hint 1: Can you find the characters from Moby Dick in other places?

  Let's think about this... 

I've been enjoying reading all of the comments on the post, watching as people try different search strategies to get at this question.  (A general comment--they're mostly pretty good!  Nice job, SRS-folk!)  

But rather than just give you my approach immediately, I'd like to give you a pointer to what I did, and then see if we can collectively figure out how to use this alternative method.  

I also realize that I was a bit ambiguous in the Challenge statement.  As we've discussed, in everyday life, Research Questions (or, as we say Challenges) are often a bit underbaked and unclear.  

This week I asked about characters with a distinctive names (to wit, Starbuck and Queequeg from Moby Dick by Herman Melville), and I asked "... how often these names from Moby Dick appear as characters in other works of fiction."  Specifically:  

1. Can you find a way to identify other major works of fiction (leaving out fan-fiction for the moment) in which the names of "Starbuck" and "Queequeg" appear (either independently or together)?  

This is very much like a standard Library Reference Question (see this list for some actual reference questions that have been asked by library patrons).  It's a bit, shall we say, "open ended."  

There are several ambiguities here: 

a. what languages are covered here?  I realize that, implicitly, I meant English--but that's doing a disservice to the rest of the world.  For all I know, Queequeg might be HUGE in German-speaking countries. Let's include all languages.  

b. what counts as a "major work of fiction"?  Again, I had meant to say "written works of fiction," but as SRS regulars point out, that leaves out a lot of content (esp. television, movies, etc.)  So let's modify our Challenge to include "fiction in whatever medium that is larger than a niche publication."  (I leave it to you to define niche.)    

My approach to this question came from a realization when I was reading the Wikipedia entry about Queequeg. Two things caught my attention.  First, was the section called "Cultural references" -- meaning, references to the topic (Queequeg) in other cultural uses.  

That's one source of insights about "other works."  Another is the purple box at the bottom of the Wiki page: 

You can see a list of other works here as well.  See, for instance, the book by Ray Bradbury, Green Shadows, White Whale, a book that gives a fictionalized version of his trip to Ireland.   This book includes a few references to Queequeg, and counts as a major work.  (Check out the Queequeg mentions on Google Books.)  

But.. I realize that this is an automatically generated figure.  THIS means that there's some database somewhere in Wiki-land that's creating the box table and its contents.  

That's right! I recall that Wikipedia has an entire Wikidata underneath it.  

I did a quick Command-F/Control-F for Wikidata on the page and was taken to a new land of discovery--the Wikidata!  If you click on the Wikidata link you'll be taken to the Wikidata item for Queequeg!  

There are new riches to be found here.  

So I'm going to make a suggestion:  Can you find additional references to the Moby Dick characters of Starbuck or Queequeg by using Wikidata?  

Is such a thing even possible?  

I'll make comments as the week passes by with additional hints and ideas.  

Search on! 


  1. 5:21 AM… that is just wrong
    an ongoing puzzle & tease… such is Sept.@ the g-plex
    this query is becoming a mini-blanco whale

    the reference librarian just gave me a blank stare and shortly afterward I was walked out of the knowledge cauldron facility without the answer… farewell LoC…
    what kind of bio-search engine is that?
    my multi-lingual question:
    dzie wczoraj zostawiłem kluczyki do samochodu? then — kur vakar palikau automobilio raktelius?
    patron questions are evidence of much idjitry in the populous… intentional & otherwise… but still occasionally funny
    slang or slung
    another SERP
    pink whale, nov. 1957 - from wiki adaptions on Moby page…
    in the South Pacific, hmmmm Queequeg was Woody (insert Woody's laugh)?

    Starbuck as a warbler, via wikidata
    wiki on the opera, Starbuck & Queequep both appear as baritones
    MD opera SERP

    many images
    a Rockwell
    Rockwell Kent - James Fitzgerald House & Studio
    James Fitzgerald
    a suitable workspace
    possible MD source?
    in the bay

    1. Yeah... 5:21AM. What can I say? Most of SRS happens before dawn...

      WRT Rockwell Kent... glad you noticed the similarity in styles.

  2. Thanks, Dr. Russell

    I'll try the Wikidata.

    I clicked on the images and links about Queequeg. And have some doubts.

    In the Wikidata, almost everything (on mobile) is without so much new information.

    Also on mobile, the purple box that you mentioned is not available. Is there a way to look at it other than with Chrome going to desktop version?

    Finally, searched Wikidata and in search, tried with Queequeg. I got that my way of asking was incorrect. Therefore, I'll SRS what is the correct way to use that tool

  3. May I ask a clarifying question? Are you looking for books that feature the SAME character named Starbuck or would the books by Bernard Cromwell featuring Nathaniel Starbuck fit?
    Or Ray Hogan’s Shawn Starbuck Westerns

    1. i can't speak for Dr. Russell, but I have been working under the assumption that we are looking for DIFFERENT characters with the names Queequeg and Starbuck, maybe ones inspired by the characters in Melville's novel. In that case, your finds would be on the right track (to me).

    2. @Krossbow - GREAT clarifying question. Thinking back to when I asked the original Challenge, I *believe* I was looking for these characters (that is, someone named Starbuck as a First Mate, or someone named Queequeg as a Polynesian harpooner). But if it simplifies things, I'll be happy to find ANYONE in a fictional work named Starbuck or Queequeg (e.g., those works by Cromwell, or the character in Battlestar Galactica). It's open season.

  4. Remmij: No estoy seguro donde usted dejo sus llaves del carro. Tal vez estan en algun lugar en Polonia o Letonia?

    In all seriousness, though, when I was in graduate school I met a Lithuanian woman who was smart but opinionated, along with a chef from Poland who made really good kielbasa and pierogis. The woman talked one day about how, when she was a fairly young girl, she took part in protests against Soviet rule that led to the Red Army withdrawing. And, the chef told me one day about how he fled Poland while it was behind the Iron Curtain (I think it was to avoid military service), and ended up working as a chef in New York.

    Dan: It sounds like we collectively found some good solutions to the problem you posed, but like you want us to know about a different way of solving this kind of problem. Is that correct?

    As you suggested, I looked at the Wikipedia entry for Queequeg (, and saw a couple ones that were different from the ones I'd found earlier, including the 1926 movie "The Sea Beast," a character in a "Futurama" episode, and a coffee chain in the video game "Deus Ex: Invisible War." Too, I saw that it was the inspiration for an alien species in "Return of the Jedi."

    After that, I saw the list of works on the bottom of that page, only they were all adaptations of "Moby Dick."

    Finally, I saw that the only other language there was an entry for Queequeg was French. And, that led to a shorter entry on "Moby Dick" in that language.

    Curious to see how long other languages' Wikipedia entries on "Moby Dick" were, I looked at them (by going to the various Wikipedias in different languages and typing in "Moby Dick" as my query). I started with Spanish, and saw that it was even shorter than the French-language one (with the one in Portuguese being shorter yet). The ones in German and Dutch were a bit longer, while the ones in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Arabic were all short. And, the Russian-language Wikipedia entry was a paragraph long. Meanwhile, the English-language Wikipedia entry was quite a bit longer than the others. (Its PDF version was 33 pages long.)

    So, given that that work came from America, was originally published in English, and is considered a "Great American Novel" (, I'd say that the odds are that we'll find the best results for your query by looking at results in English. And, I'd venture to guess that this would be true for Starbuck, too.

    (It's honestly not surprising: Whereas the PDF version of the English-language Wikipedia entry on "Don Quixote" is 17 pages long, the one in Spanish for "Don Quijote de la Mancha" is 48 pages long--and is a featured article, to boot. Then again, Cervantes was from Spain, and "Don Quijote" was first published there.)

    So, the answer to one of Dan's questions (concerning languages to look in) is that the best results for this query would be from English-language sources.

    I have to stop for today (I unfortunately didn't have time to look into Starbuck, let alone look at the Wikidata), but hopefully someone else can use this and get some better answers.

    1. Good points. One of my goals in this Challenge is to get people aware of the Wikidata resource, and to explore it a bit. (There are mostly untapped capabilities there that should be more widely known.)

      And yes, the differences in Wikipedia by language are striking! We've talked about this before. See:

    2. I was thinking about that yesterday while SRS and found your information. Sadly Manypedia is not longer available. That was a helpful tool but I think not used enough so creators closed it

    3. Keys Found! - there was a reference librarian @ PBZ Hardau that located them…
      as it turned out the car was in an underground garage in Dubuque… no wonder I was so tired after walking from Zurich…
      and a little damp… and the keys were covered with zebra mussels… from the Mississippi, I think.
      No sign of whalers on the way. (btw, jfg - just for grins.)
      Yeah... 5:21AM somewhere…
      was Alan Jackson speaking of military time &
      the sRs libation from Woodford Reserve?

      IDNR - byssal threads.
      did the Polish chef ever?
      …a smart but opinionated woman - in graduate school… who has heard of such a thing? her name wasn't Marilyn vos Savant?
      possibly a 'Karen'?
      a blast form earlier sRs – “Karen” vs. “Becky” vs. “Stacy”
      9 others – dare I
      say 50% of the female population is wiser then 76-81% of the males (mathlady would know the numbers better than I)

      100 Lithuanian women - none named Starbuck or Queequep
      "And, the chef told me one day about how he fled Poland while it was behind the Iron Curtain (I think it was to avoid military service), and ended up working as a chef in New York."… there may be a spate of Russian chefs soon, courtesy of V.P.. or all food may be microwaved… and Google services spotty & disrupted
      "Nuclear explosions can cause significant damage and casualties from blast, heat, and radiation but you can keep your family safe by knowing how to bunker-google"
      Cell phone, text messaging, television, and internet services may be disrupted or unavailable.
      oh, bother, how will the time pass after the Anti-flash white?
      well, can't say we didn't see it coming… ~10 seconds, give or take
      fade to black
      and then there was this

    4. Fair enough, plus I also remember reading a chapter in your book that went over looking at Wikipedia in other languages, which was definitely informative. That said, I have a thought and suggestion to share on your goals with this challenge, though I need to preface it with an explanation.

      The Master's degree I'm working on is in education (TESOL - Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), plus I've read some about cognitive psychology (including memory) and evidence-based education, including from researchers in the latter area (John Hattie and Barak Rosenshine). And, from what they and others have written, it sounds like a good way to go about teaching something new is to follow the "I do-we do-you do" approach: That is, the teacher demonstrates a new technique or idea, the teacher and students do it together, and then the students do it on their own.

      I bring this up because the point you brought up about Wikidata is new to me: Though I knew of it (I'd read something about how other Big Tech firms like Apple and Amazon downloaded vast quantities of it for their own purposes, and how Google was now paying Wikimedia for an improved version of that), I didn't know anything about it. As well, I suspect that information on Wikidata is also largely new to others here.

      I agree that Wikipedia is a useful resource, and I agree that there are a number of things about it that are quite useful, such as Wikidata. (As another example, I only learned a few days ago about how to tell whether a Wikipedia entry is any good to read, and also how to access past versions of those entries.)

      So, my suggestion is this: Tell us how we did with the previous SRS challenge via feedback or an explanation, then create a post on how to better use Wikipedia, with that challenge as a worked example on it (or, if you have already done so, include the link or links to them), then give us a search that requires us to use it (with you giving hints if we struggle, and a detailed explanation after a few days), and then give us another couple of searches that require us to use it (with you giving progressively fewer hints and suggestions). That way, it would be easier for us to learn about it, and we'd all be that much better at web search.

    5. remmij - I know the numbers but am not sharing. I was happy to see Hypatia and Amazing Grace on your list though I don’t know how much I believe those sort of “beauty contests”. There were some odd statements in some of the entries:

      Judit Polgar: “When he was only 15, he won…”

      Grace Hopper: “When he was 34, he…”

      Hypatia: “He has co-authored and authored…”

      I searched quickly and couldn’t find anything about the accuracy or POV of the royalsblue web site. Their news coverage seemed mainstream. Their sports section appeared not to be US-based. I searched for “Tom Brady” and the only match was a mention of him in an article about Matt Damon and Bitcoin.

    6. Remmij: As a way to clarify what I wrote earlier, opinions are natural and inevitable in life and are worth listening to, especially if you know what you're talking about. As an example, Dan knows a lot about web search, so his opinions on it are something I pay close attention to. However, being opinionated (that is, being certain and unyielding about personal views) is something that seems problematic, as I know both from bitter experience and from with dealing with male and female family members who are that way.

      Mathlady: Based on what you wrote, I looked up that RoyalsBlue website. For, though my initial thought was that it might have something to do with the Kansas City Royals baseball team, I quickly dismissed it when I saw all the technology and world news on it. As well, it was troubling that there was no "About" page with the website, and also that I couldn't find any Wikipedia entry on it.

      So, I looked up one of the two listed authors (Lily Adric), and found a similar site with world news, entertainment news, and tech news that was called Moose Gazette. But, again, there was no "About" page. As well, I found a few other sites she was a writer for, including 123News, FutureTV, topnewslive, and dailytimepk, among others. And, all of them had a similar format: Claiming to have entertainment related news (and also having world and tech news), the same statement on the bottom of the page for what they did ("We provide you with the latest breaking news and videos straight from the entertainment industry"), no "About" page, and no contact information except for email addresses.

      Doing a search for the other author listed (Willy Rock) did not return any relevant results. However, I did see that he had authored posts on some of these other sites.

      On top of that, there was no contact information for either author; all that was there was a name, an apparent LinkedIn-style profile picture, and a numerical tally of the number of posts they'd made. (Mr. Rock had written 2880, while Ms. Adric had made 3199.)

      After that, I looked up several of those news sites at Media Bias / Fact Check, but got nothing.

      So, though I can't be certain about that site and others, based on what I found along with what you brought up, I don't think Royals Blue or any of its companion sites are particularly trustworthy sources.

    7. I hope you learned some interesting things about Grace Hopper. She has been important in my life and I owe her a lot. The 60 Minutes interview with her is online.

      Her 1947 “bug” is at the Smithsonian. I became curious and consulted the OED about the word “bug”. Its use as “A defect or fault in a machine” dates to 1875. Not surprising. However, I was surprised to see that its use as “Computing. An error or other cause of malfunction in a computer program, piece of software, etc.” is first attributed to a 1952 article from Amer. Inst. Electr. Engineers. Is it because Dr. Hopper didn’t publish? Or because she meant the term “bug” literally (a moth) and not metaphorically in a novel sense?

      I asked [Why does the oxford english dictionary not include Grace Hopper's bug?] and got many references to the 1875 use, but could not find out why the 1947 use was not included. I tried a few other searches with no answer. This might have some clues:

      Perhaps I should reread The Professor and the Madman.

    8. …went down the hopper/moth/rabbit hole… it was fun… ended with Hattie the Hello Girl
      not Matthew "Matt" Hooper - her long lost, 2nd nephew - of Jaws
      hopper query SERP
      he had 9 lives, but led them in seclusion after the Amity splash - 'Don´t wait for me!'
      September 9, 1945… a moth
      interesting date 'bug'/glitch
      the actual bug/moth/glitch creator… a Miller??
      T.Edison SERP
      atlas obsura - since the IEEE article required subscription
      more creative in that state than most who were 'awake'
      March 3, 1878 letter to Western Union President William Orton
      the word bögge/bogill/bugbear is bugging moi

      dagger moths
      CSU - buggy Q&A
      Smithsonian - 'Note: The computer bug is currently not on display.'
      the 'bugs' can take many visual forms… not all sleeping in code…
      "The wording in the Harvard log book—“first actual case of a bug being found”—suggests the computer programmers and engineers there were already quite familiar with the time-honored usage and were remarking on the novelty of finding an actual insect bugging up the computer. “Debug,” by the way, was also used in an 1945 issue of the Journal of the Royal Aeronautical Society, which Shapiro takes to suggest it was “probably preceded by several years of oral use in engineering slang."

      worth a look for the curious

      some 'bug' history
      page 35 cartoon at the bottom, Jan.1924
      an XX angle…

    9. …more rabbit detours & divots…
      possible type…"Although I am not an entomologist, it appears to be Biston betularia (peppered moth). Source: Schuppli, S. (2008). Of Mice Moths and Men Machines. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 4(1-2), 286–306. Retrieved from
      Olga Świder"

      Peppered Moth Serp
      "The moth's dynamic vitality had introduced a kind of surplus or aberrant code into the machine, which in effect pushed the machine towards a state of chaos and breakdown. Its failure to act as desired, to perform the coding sequences of its programmed history suggests that even a seemingly inert or lifeless machine can become ‘more and other than its history'."
      source for above quote – Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ 🐜🐞🐝
      The Surgeon of Crowthorne… Mel Gibson?

    10. What really happened on that day in 1947? Your sources are not consistent.

      According to Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy “In 1947, Grace Murray Hopper a pioneer in early computing made an unusual entry into her daily logbook: ‘Relay #70 Panel F (moth) in relay. First actual case of bug being found.'”

      According to the National Museum of American History:
      In 1947, engineers working on the Mark II computer at Harvard University found a moth stuck in one of the components. They taped the insect in their logbook and labeled it "first actual case of bug being found."

      According to Supercool: “Someone (possibly Hopper but maybe not) recorded the incident in the logbook – along with the actual moth, taped to the page.

      ”What really happened? Let's ask the lady herself. According to Hopper, the operator took out the moth, put it in the log book, put Scotch tape over it and wrote the famous line, "First actual case of...."

      From a lecture at the University of Tennessee 2 February 1983.

    11. …she says "1945" @ ~8:39… thanks to you & Grace for clearing that up… unlikely, but still anecdotal I guess…?
      I've been Hopper-ized
      Scotch's cousin —
      engineers can be suspect
      not a moth

    12. I have been hanging my head in shame over not noticing “1945” and wasn’t going to post anymore but the dragon is awake. One of the content providers you referenced has “Call out bu****it” at the top of a web site. Dracarys: That same speaker says that Grace Hopper was born in 1905 [It was 9 December 1906]. Then “to give a reference” went on to say that “1905 is the year the Titanic sank”. (I listened to it three times to be sure.) I recently visited (physically) museums in both Belfast and Cobh and assure you that that ship had not even been ordered as of 1905. And so it went… but I have said enough. Once again, don’t believe everything you encounter on the internet.

    13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    14. you are right about the veracity of bits on the interwob - a point Dan stresses often too… farewell Dragon,
      I think we have probably flogged this equine (or Cetacea) to its demise… where did I leave that Starbucks coupon?
      "On March 31, 1909, some three months after work began on the Olympic, the keel was laid for the Titanic."

      there are always the Q-tees…
      the domesticated Queequeg - "Queequeg Died, Sweetie"
      …then there is this kinda nonsense/time trip-age…
      Titanic passengers
      Hogeboom Mrs Anna Louisa 51 Cherbourg S
      Holverson Mr Alexander Oskar 42 Southampton †
      Holverson Mrs Mary Aline 35 Southampton S
      Homer Mr Harry 40 Southampton S
      Hopper Miss Grace 5 Cherbourg S
      Hoyt Mr Frederick Maxfield 38 Southampton S
      Hoyt Mrs Jane Anne 31 Southampton S
      Hoyt Mr William Fisher 42 Cherbourg S
      Icard Miss Rose Amélie (Maid to Mrs George Nelson Stone) 39 Southampton S
      Ishmael Ahad 143 Nantucket ††

    15. This has been an interesting discussion about bugs, computers, and Admiral Hopper.

      And, reading it got me curious about the origins of bugs and debugging, so I looked it up. Here is what I found:

      * The term "bug" originated in Middle English (meaning: Something frightening), though similar words are found in Welsh, Middle Irish, and Scottish, pus it is similar to words found in both Old English and Low German.
      * The first person to note that programs could have errors was Ada Lovelace, in 1843. Later, in 1878, Thomas Edison used the term "bug" to refer to malfunctions or errors in machines, though it is entirely possible (if not likely) that it was commonly used to refer to mechanical problems whose cause was unknown. This continued during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as evinced by a 1931 ad for a pinball game.
      On top of that, Isaac Asimov used the term "bug" in his 1944 story "Catch that Rabbit," to refer to problems with robots. That, and the term "bug" appeared in three papers in 1952.
      The term "debug" appeared in writing during World War II.
      * This source backs up much of what was in the previous one, while also mentioning Admiral Hopper's story of finding a live bug in a Mark II relay.
      * This includes a section on the history of the terms "debug" and "debugging" (and how they appeared in writing in 1945), along with links to three 1952 papers on computers that use the word "debugging" in them.
      * As an interesting aside, Ada Lovelace was both a mathematician and the world's first computer programmer, and worked with Charles Babbage on his analytical engine (a calculating device from the 1830s). However, his device was never completed, and her program was never tested in her lifetime. (These two sources go over these points in more detail: and

    16. Titanic passengers - it took a while but I got it. Very clever!

  5. I got more time, so I returned to this search.

    I next turned to Starbuck, to see if I could find anything similar. However, there was no Wikipedia entry on him. The one listing different characters from "Moby Dick" did include mention of him (, including that that had been a common name among whalers, and that he had no interest in hunting for the white whale--though he felt duty-bound to obey Captain Ahab on that.

    As an aside, I just remembered another work of fiction similar to "Moby Dick": "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," in particular Khan's single-minded obsession to hunt down and defeat Captain Kirk. In other words, Khan was a thinly-disguised version of Captain Ahab (complete with having a couple of lines that were very similar to Ahab's), his first mate (Joachim) was a thinly-disguised version of Starbuck who was urging him to drop his mad quest for revenge, and the Enterprise in general (and Kirk in particular) was the white whale that had hurt him all those years ago. Granted, it's not complete - the Enterprise crew was living out a science fiction version of "A Tale of Two Cities" - but it is intriguing. For more information, go to and

    So, I guess we can add Khan's first mate to the list of fictional characters based on Starbuck, even though they did not share names. But, I don't think there was anyone based on Queequeg in that movie.

    Next, I looked at Wikidata on Queequeg (, but I didn't see other references to that character in other works. The same was for Wikidata on "Moby Dick" (, since that's where Starbuck is.

    In short, unless I'm missing something (and that could well be the case), it looks like using Wikidata for this search is a blind alley.

    1. It seems to me that the Related Works in Wikipedia may be works that are related only thematically. For example, Mocha Dick was a white whale who died in 1838, prior to Melville’s writing Moby Dick. No connection to Queequeg or Starbuck as far as I could ascertain. I was able to download a copy of Green Shadows, White Whale and search it for Queequeg and found references to him in Chapter 32. Not having read Chapters 1 – 31, it appears that this is some sort of retelling of Moby Dick and not a new story with a derivative character. Essex and In the Heart of the Sea cover events that predate Melville’s book.

    2. @mateojose1 - yeah, _analogous_ characters don't count in this Challenge. I'm really looking for *Starbuck* or *Queequeg* for names.

    3. Mathlady: Good point about the "Related Works" section. And, those were good points you brought up about Mocha Dick, the "Essex," and "In the Heart of the Sea." Finally, that was a good find about "Green Shadows, White Whale," though, after reading its Wikipedia entry (,_White_Whale), I agree with you that it is a retelling of "Moby Dick" rather than a new story with a derivative character. Alas!

    4. Thanks for the kind words. I was fortunate to be able to download Green Shadows, White Whale and actually read the references to Queequeg in context. I was also able to find the book on Google Books and see the references to Queequeg ex post facto. The snippets it provided included references to the Whale, Ishmael, and Ahab, so would suggest its relation to the original work.

      I wonder – have we found any references to Queequeg or Starbuck that predate 1851and thus might have influenced Melville instead of the other way around? Or did those names originate with Melville? You previously identified the names Ishmael and Ahab as coming from the Bible.

    5. Mathlady: According to, Starbuck was a common surname among whalers, plus there were Quakers in Nantucket with that name. So, I'm betting he got it from that.

      As an aside, the Wikipedia directory page for "Starbuck" ( also gave a few other uses of the name "Starbuck" in fiction, such as the novel "Fire Bringer," the 1980s TV show "J.J. Starbuck," and Dana Scully's childhood nickname from "The X-files" (which you'd mentioned).

      Next, I looked at the Wikipedia entry on Queequeg, to see where Melville got the name. But, though it indicated he'd been based on a Maori chief named Te Pēhi Kupe who had visited England, it was silent on where the name had come from. I did a search (origin of the name queequeg) and found nothing. I did several other searches and also came up empty-handed.

      As I did another search for "Queequeg," I saw mention in chapter 18 of how he was called "Quohog," so I looked that up. And, I found (at that it was a variant of "quahog," which is a type of clam found along the eastern coast of North America ( As well, by visiting the online etymology dictionary, I learned that it was derived from an Algonquin word (, plus people in coastal New England still use the Algonquin word for it ( But, I couldn't find anything else. Even the pronunciation of the two was significantly different!

      So, honestly, I don't know how he came up with that name. In fact, and for all I know, it could be that Melville was playing around with the word "quohog" one day, came up with the word "queequeg," and liked how it looked. But, again, I don't know.

    6. You may be on to something, I found

      which seems like an online Cliff’s Notes. Apparently “quahog” is mentioned a lot in Moby Dick, though Melville sometimes spells it “quohog”. This site mentions Captain Peleg saying “tell Quohog there—what’s that you call him?”

      Later it said, “Now, Queequeg, it may be imagined, never thought much of the offense, but Melville might be making a larger point here about the ways in which history can be erased by the mere slip of a tongue. In the event, say, of a disaster at sea which made it so the Pequod never returned from this voyage, Queequeg—owing precisely to his heritage and background, or more properly to Peleg’s inability faithfully to record it—would only be remembered in the ship’s articles, should someone think to consult them, as ‘Quohog.’”

      Maybe Melville had some intention of having Queequeg’s name being mistaken for something else, some sort of symbolism. Just a thought, I don’t want to over-analyze this.

      Entry in the OED for “quahog”:
      “1851 H. Melville Moby-Dick xiv. 70 They first caught crabs and quohogs in the sand.”

  6. VP_KH reached out & ask me to post this… evidently she is shy about her sRs bonafides/chops… (she is a fan of Dan)
    is it a salad or a cloud… and what's it got to do with Moby?
    all above my pay-grade, as they say…

  7. falling back in the sRs timeline…
    "that some names are used as generic signifiers of categories of people? Are there other names that are used in this way in English?" one of the greatest of all time…
    Mildred…… Ratched - the contra 'Farrah' movie image, the anti-nurse
    she would make a 'Karen' truly weep