It’s not clear how we started calling Elephant nose “trunk,” but there are some hints which show that it might have happened sometime in the 16th century. The first written instance was recorded during the year of 1589 in a book called “Principal Navigations” by Richard Hakluyt.
The exact reason why we call Elephant’s nose a trunk is difficult to determine. The most appropriate theory is that an Elephant’s nose is known as a trunk because decades before, the word Trunk became common to describe a hollow tube or a pipe.
Elephant’s nose is also like hollow tubes and pipes, and that’s why people started calling it a trunk. This theory is the one that makes sense as to why we call an Elephant’s nose a “trunk.”
How the Car’s Trunk got this name?
Now you people might also be wondering how the Car’s Trunk got this name for Britishers. We are talking about the boot of a car.
In the 12th century, a word Latin truncus used for the main stem or human or stock of a tree. This word gave rise to a french world tronc, which meant trunk of a tree or human body, and in the 15th century, the word Trunk came to existence.
By the 14th century, people started calling wood cases or chests as trunks, most probably because they were crafted from free trunks wood.
Let us now fast-forward into the year of 1929. There was an ad in Hearst International Magazine where an automobile was displayed with a tag “Six wire wheels and a trunk rack.” It was the time from where people started calling the car’s in-built storage compartment as a trunk in North America.
This was the first recorded instance of people calling the car’s in-built storage compartment as a trunk. Sure, there are many more instances for the same, and it became so popular in minimal time.
Oh! And coming back to the Elephant’s nose, it is called a trunk is because it looked like a hollow tube or a pipe and people back then used to call hollow tube or a hose as a trunk. This eventually led people to refer to the Elephant’s nose as a trunk.