dau·​phin ˈdȯ-fən How to pronounce dauphin (audio)
ˌdō-ˈfaⁿ How to pronounce dauphin (audio)
often capitalized
: the eldest son of a king of France

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The number of people invited to the event was determined by the event’s location, the Théâtre Gabriel, a blue and gold-gilded opera house built by Louis XV and inaugurated at the wedding of the dauphin (later Louis XVI) to Marie Antoinette. Vogue, 25 Apr. 2022 During the outbreak of 1711 alone, smallpox killed the Holy Roman emperor Joseph I; three siblings of the future Holy Roman emperor Francis I; and the heir to the French throne, the grand dauphin Louis. New York Times, 27 Apr. 2021 In actuality, Mary was first betrothed to the dauphin and then later to Charles V, all for political gain and matters of diplomacy. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, 16 Nov. 2020 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, 9 June 2020 Like a dauphin’s, his private routine is often observed. Kennedy Fraser, Vogue, 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, 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, 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, 26 Feb. 2017 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near dauphin

Cite this Entry

“Dauphin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dauphin. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


dau·​phin ˈdȯ-fən How to pronounce dauphin (audio)
often capitalized
: the eldest son of a king of France

Geographical Definition


geographical name

Dau·​phin ˈdȯ-fin How to pronounce Dauphin (audio)
island in southwestern Alabama at the entrance to Mobile Bay

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