porpoise

noun
por·poise | \ˈpȯr-pəs \

Definition of porpoise 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : any of a family (Phocoenidae) of small gregarious toothed whales especially : a blunt-snouted usually dark gray whale (Phocoena phocoena) of the North Atlantic and North Pacific that typically ranges from 5 to 6 feet (1.5 to 1.8 meters) in length

2 : dolphin sense 1a(1) not used technically

Note: While not closely related, porpoises and dolphins share a physical resemblance that often leads to misidentification. Porpoises typically have flat, spade-shaped teeth, triangular dorsal fins, and shortened beaks with relatively small mouths while dolphins have cone-shaped teeth, curved dorsal fins, and elongated beaks with larger mouths.

porpoise

verb
porpoised; porpoising; porpoises

Definition of porpoise (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to leap or plunge like a porpoise penguins … porpoise out of the water— David Lewis

2 : to rise and fall repeatedly

Examples of porpoise in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

A decade of rescue crusades by conservation groups, hard-core eco-activists and the U.S. Navy have failed to prevent the world’s rarest porpoise from becoming fatally entangled in gill nets set for seafood in Mexico’s northern Gulf of California. Louis Sahagun, latimes.com, "To save the world's rarest marine mammal, conservationists seek ban on Mexican seafood imports," 11 July 2018 At the bridge, watch for basking sharks, porpoises, and dolphins. Jamie Moore, USA TODAY, "The world’s 10 most amazing suspension bridges," 26 Apr. 2018 The challenge is amplified by the fact that there are so few of the diminutive porpoises left. CBS News, "Inside the effort to save the world's most endangered marine mammal, the vaquita," 30 June 2018 Lake sturgeon, which also make a spring spawning migration up the Wolf, porpoise near the raft. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "They love fishing, so they set cabins afloat: Wolf River rafts are 'home' to some anglers," 20 June 2018 Reidenberg examined 10 dead dolphins and porpoises that were stranded onshore to trace the connections between the mysterious blood vessels and the rest of the animals’ anatomies. Matthew Berger, Smithsonian, "Dolphins Have a Mysterious Network of Veins That Could Be Key to Preventing the Bends," 26 May 2018 Millar on March 3 was sailing off the coast of Bowen Island when he was instantly surrounded by Dall’s porpoises. Houston Chronicle, "Houston area sailing clubs and classes," 10 May 2018 The New England Aquarium said in a statement that a necropsy revealed the porpoise’s liver and other organs had been compromised by an unusually high number of parasites. Laney Ruckstuhl, BostonGlobe.com, "Pregnant porpoise dies on Dorchester Bay shore during the last nor’easter," 10 Mar. 2018 Ice isn't the only attraction on these boats: keep an eye out for whales and wildlife, puffins and porpoises, too. Josh Niva, Anchorage Daily News, "Getting your outdoor adventure fix in Southcentral Alaska," 2 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Calvin stepped up to the glass, watching Fiona porpoise around Hippo Cove with her mother, Bibi. Mallorie Sullivan, Cincinnati.com, "Like Fiona, he was born prematurely. Their meeting will melt your heart.," 20 Feb. 2018

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1909, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for porpoise

Noun

Middle English porpoys, from Anglo-French porpeis, from Medieval Latin porcopiscis, from Latin porcus pig + piscis fish — more at farrow, fish

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Statistics for porpoise

Last Updated

27 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for porpoise

The first known use of porpoise was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for porpoise

porpoise

noun

English Language Learners Definition of porpoise

: a small usually gray and white whale that has a rounded nose

porpoise

noun
por·poise | \ˈpȯr-pəs \

Kids Definition of porpoise

1 : a small whale with teeth that resembles a dolphin but has a blunt rounded snout

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