Definition of dolphin
1a : any of various small marine toothed whales (family Delphinidae) with the snout more or less elongated into a beak and the neck vertebrae partially fused ◆While not closely related, dolphins and porpoises share a physical resemblance that often leads to misidentification. Dolphins typically have cone-shaped teeth, curved dorsal fins, and elongated beaks with large mouths, while porpoises have flat, spade-shaped teeth, triangular dorsal fins, and shortened beaks with smaller mouths. b : any of several related chiefly freshwater toothed whales (as of the family Platanistidae)
2 : dolphinfish
3 capitalized : delphinus
4 : a spar or buoy for mooring boats; also : a cluster of closely driven piles used as a fender for a dock or as a mooring or guide for boats
Recent Examples of dolphin from the Web
The Department of Interior has acknowledged in the past that such sonic blasts might affect the feeding, migration or other behavior of whales and dolphins.
My backward dolphin roll and undulating mermaid swim aren’t exactly dazzling with a tail slipping below the waist.
Here, the only sounds are those of nature: crashing waves, rustling sea oats, shore birds calling to one other and bottlenose dolphins splashing in the shallows.
In 2001, a bottlenose dolphin calf with two beaks was caught in the Mediterranean sea, but it was partially decomposed.
Bring a Father’s Day card to marine animal dads sea lions Ace and Bud, and dolphin dads Indigo and Noel, and your dad will receive free admission to the park June 12-18.
The prospect of drilling off the Carolinas coast inched closer Tuesday with publication of a federal notice on high-volume sonic blasts that could affect thousands of dolphins and whales.
Today, the boys are described as survivors who are fascinated with dolphins and carry a photo album of their recent Make-A-Wish trip to Walt Disney World.
With a streamlined curvaceous design, inspired by a dolphin and evocative of a Lexus car, it's being promised as a commercial product in the next few years.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dolphin'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of dolphin
Middle English delphyn, dolphyn, from Anglo-French delphin, alteration of Old French dalfin, from Medieval Latin dalfinus, alteration of Latin delphinus, from Greek delphin-, delphis; akin to Greek delphys womb, Sanskrit garbha
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
DOLPHIN Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of dolphin for English Language Learners
: a small usually gray whale that has a pointed nose
DOLPHIN Defined for Kids
Definition of dolphin for Students
1 : a small whale with teeth and a long nose
2 : either of two large fish usually of warm seas that are often used for food
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up dolphin? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).