Picking them at random

Another peculiar search.
There was a search at lunchtime today for "noah ark China guardian blog", which is an odd combination, but I’m guessing would’ve found my entry about the recent story on the discovery of the ship full of rare animals off the coast of China.
The reference to Noah’s Ark got me wondering what an ark actually is. Is it a ship or a box (as in the Ark of the Covenant)? And if it’s a box, why is it also used as a term for a boat? What, I wonder, is the original term in Hebrew and is it the same for both things? The word we use in English is derived from Latin arca "box". I suppose Noah’s Boat sounds proletarian; Noah’s Ship like a cruise liner; and Noah’s Nautical Menagerie like an Edwardian circus.

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