har·​poon | \ här-ˈpün How to pronounce harpoon (audio) \

Definition of harpoon

: a barbed spear or javelin used especially in hunting large fish or whales

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Other Words from harpoon

harpoon transitive verb
harpooner noun

Examples of harpoon in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Other proposals include giant magnets, harpoons, and nets to safely whittle down the growing debris cloud. Maya Wei-haas, National Geographic, "Space junk is a huge problem—and it’s only getting bigger," 25 Apr. 2019 Aaron struck it with a homemade harpoon attached to a spool of venetian blind cord, but the crocodile dislodged the hook and disappeared underwater. Ngm Maps, National Geographic, "‘This photograph was the hardest I’ve ever had to make’," 1 Aug. 2019 At different times, Greenpeace activists darted through dangerous waters in small boats to prevent Japanese and Russian whalers from discharging their harpoons. Matt Schudel, Washington Post, "Steve Sawyer, Greenpeace leader who escaped 1985 sabotage bombing, dies at 63," 9 Aug. 2019 And if this doesn't work, then maybe the giant space harpoon will eliminate space junk. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Hey, Want to Watch This Satellite Melt?," 21 June 2019 Japanese whalers – with their harpoons concealed beneath tarpaulin – left the port cities of Kushiro and Shimonoseki on Monday for the first commercial whale hunt in more than three decades. Fox News, "Japan resumes commercial whaling after 30 years -- despite low demand," 2 July 2019 The RemoveDEBRIS spacecraft test-fired a harpoon designed to clean up orbital garbage. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper's magazine, "Findings," 10 May 2019 Jordan Dreyer, the vocalist of the post-hardcore quintet, harpoons the air with his entire body, while singing with a controlled anguish. Greta Moran, Teen Vogue, "The Culture of Sexual Harassment at Music Festivals Like Coachella Could Be Changing," 3 May 2019 The satellite will use a net and harpoon to try and clear up some of thousands of pieces of debris currently orbiting Earth. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Harpoon-Based Space Junk Capture System Is Getting Space Tested," 25 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'harpoon.' 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 harpoon

1625, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for harpoon

probably from Dutch harpoen, from Middle Dutch, from Old French harpon brooch, from harper to grapple

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Statistics for harpoon

Time Traveler for harpoon

The first known use of harpoon was in 1625

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More Definitions for harpoon


How to pronounce harpoon (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of harpoon

: a long weapon used especially for hunting large fish or whales


har·​poon | \ här-ˈpün How to pronounce harpoon (audio) \

Kids Definition of harpoon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a barbed spear used especially for hunting whales and large fish


harpooned; harpooning

Kids Definition of harpoon (Entry 2 of 2)

: to strike with a barbed spear


har·​poon | \ här-ˈpün How to pronounce harpoon (audio) \

Medical Definition of harpoon

: a medical instrument with a barbed head used for removing bits of living tissue for examination

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More from Merriam-Webster on harpoon

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for harpoon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with harpoon

Spanish Central: Translation of harpoon

Nglish: Translation of harpoon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about harpoon

Comments on harpoon

What made you want to look up harpoon? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to engage in dissolute behavior

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