The name Weehawken is generally considered to have evolved from the Algonquian language Lenape spoken by the Hackensack and Tappan. It has variously been interpreted as "maize land", "place of gulls", "rocks that look like trees", which would refer to the Palisades, atop which most of the town sits, or "at the end", among other suggested translations.
Three U.S. Navy ships have been named for the city. The USS Weehawken, launched on November 5, 1862, was a Passaic-class monitor, or ironclad ship, which sailed for the Union Navy during the American Civil War, encountered battles at the Charleston, South Carolina coast, and sank in a moderate gale on December 6, 1863. The Weehawken was the last ferry to The West Shore Terminal on March 25, 1959, at 1:10 am, ending 259 years of continuous ferry service. Weehawken Street in Manhattan's Greenwich Village was the site of a colonial Hudson River ferry landing.
The name and the place have inspired mention in multiple works of popular culture.