dolphin

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noun dol·phin \ˈdäl-fən, ˈdȯl-\

Definition of dolphin

  1. 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. 2 :  dolphinfish

  3. 3 capitalized :  delphinus

  4. 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

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.

Illustration of dolphin

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

Other Fishes Terms


DOLPHIN Defined for English Language Learners

dolphin

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noun

Definition of dolphin for English Language Learners

  • : a small usually gray whale that has a pointed nose


DOLPHIN Defined for Kids

dolphin

play
noun dol·phin \ˈdäl-fən, ˈdȯl-\

Definition of dolphin for Students

  1. 1 :  a small whale with teeth and a long nose

  2. 2 :  either of two large fish usually of warm seas that are often used for food



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