noun, often capitalized
dau·​phin | \ ˈdȯ-fən How to pronounce dauphin (audio) , ˈdō-; ˌdō-ˈfaⁿ How to pronounce dauphin (audio) \

Definition of dauphin

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the eldest son of a king of France


geographical name
Dau·​phin | \ ˈdȯ-fin How to pronounce Dauphin (audio) \

Definition of Dauphin (Entry 2 of 2)

island in southwestern Alabama at the entrance to Mobile Bay

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Did You Know?

From 1350 to 1830, dauphin was the title given to the eldest son of a king of France, or the heir apparent to the French crown. The title was established by the royal house of France through the purchase of lands known as the Dauphiné in 1349 by the future Charles V. The Dauphiné was a region and former province in what is now southeastern France. It was sold to King Philip VI of France and ultimately became a grant of land to the eldest son of the French king, who assumed the title (dauphin) attached to the land. The area had a quasi-independent status until it was annexed to France in 1457.

Examples of dauphin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Mary’s great-aunt Louise de Bourbon-Vendôme, Abbess of Fontevraud, sent her the prayer book between 1558—the year the young queen married the French dauphin, Francis II—and 1561, when Francis died unexpectedly at age 16. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "A Prayer Book Owned by Mary, Queen of Scots, Is Up for Sale," 9 June 2020 Like a dauphin’s, his private routine is often observed. Kennedy Fraser, Vogue, "From the Archives: Karl Lagerfeld, The Impresario," 19 Feb. 2019 Her intended, Louis-August (Jason Schwartzman), current dauphin of France and future King Louis XVI, is the 18th century equivalent of a shy A/V nerd, and completely incapable of standing up for his new bride in a court of gossips and mean girls. refinery29.com, "Why Marie Antoinette Is Really Mean Girls, Versailles Edition," 10 July 2018 In 1955, Dior duly hired the unusually talented young man as an assistant, and Saint Laurent soon became the master’s acknowledged dauphin, entrusted with more and more design responsibilities. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "In Paris, a New Exhibition Pays Tribute to Yves Saint Laurent’s Earliest Imaginings," 12 June 2018 Others, like Huck Finn's dubious riverboat dauphin, count on the people around them to be ignorant of aristocratic mores and genealogical charts and awed by the idea of nobility. Sadie Stein, Town & Country, "Why Are Rich People So Easily Fooled?," 26 Feb. 2017 The party closed ranks after a bitter primary in December, when Mr Abdo Benítez defeated Santiago Peña, the dauphin of the outgoing president, Horacio Cartes. The Economist, "The son of an ex-dictator’s secretary is elected president of Paraguay," 28 Apr. 2018 This casual diminishing of half the population has led to all sorts of ludicrous explanations for pivotal episodes, one of the most droll being that angels led Joan of Arc to the court of the hapless dauphin, Charles VII. Nancy Goldstone, Time, "I'm a Historian, and I Think Women's History Month Is a Mistake," 23 Mar. 2018 Wieseman placed the Panini near a 1731 work by the same painter depicting preparations for a 1729 celebration in the Piazza Navona in Rome of the birth of the dauphin. Steven Litt, cleveland.com, ""Eyewitness Views" at Cleveland Museum of Art revives forgotten meanings of 18th century 'view paintings' (photos," 25 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dauphin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dauphin


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for dauphin


Middle English dolphin, from Anglo-French dolphyn, from Old French dalfin, title of lords of the Dauphiné, from Dalfin, a surname

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The first known use of dauphin was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Dauphin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dauphin. Accessed 21 Oct. 2020.

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Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about dauphin

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