The city of Norwalk, settled in 1649 and incorporated September 1651, was named after the Algonquin word noyank, meaning "point of land", or more probably from the native American name "Naramauke."
The city boundaries originally included parts of the current municipalities of New Canaan, Wilton, and Westport. Ancient records describe the boundaries as "from Norwalk river to Sauhatuck river, from sea, Indian one day walk into the country". Thus a disputing source, and common tradition, describes Norwalk's name deriving from the northern boundary extending from the sea covering one day's "north walk" into the countryside. An additional source found this analysis to be improbable, given that the name "Norwalk" was used by natives, who were called the "Norwake Indians". Additionally a nearby river was known as the Norwake River when the area was first colonized. Roger Ludlow's 1640 land purchase was from "the Indians of Norwalke" and the land is described as lying between "the twoe rivers, the one called the Norwalke, the other Soakatuck." The earliest town records list the city name as Norwalke (the "w" likely silent, as in Warwick). Bradley's [Connecticut] Register describes that the early Colony Records call it "Norrwake". Around 1847 the elderly used the ancient pronunciation "Norruck".
Norwalk has a nickname, "Oyster Town", due to its prominent oyster fisheries providing a large source of income to the city since the early 19th century. Norwalk Harbor's islands and proximity to New York City make it profitable for oyster harvesting. Discarded oyster shells along the Connecticut coast help prove the importance oysters had to pre-Columbian inhabitants of the area as well.