: any of numerous large marine snails (as of the genus Buccinum)
especially : one (B. undatum) used as food in Europe

Illustration of whelk

Illustration of whelk

whelk

2 of 2

noun (2)

Examples of whelk in a Sentence

Noun (2) unsightly whelks covered the beggar's face
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The menu is full of seaside favorites, including generous platters and seafood towers overflowing with langoustines, whelks, prawns, oysters, and lobsters. Jade Simon, Vogue, 21 June 2024 Local specimens include lightning whelks and angel wings from the bay and lions-paw scallops and alphabet cones from the Gulf. Robin Soslow, Miami Herald, 30 Jan. 2024 Is there something profound about making a whelk taste, quite pleasingly, like sour-cream-and-onion chips? Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, 21 Jan. 2024 Live channel whelk or conch are for sale at the Newport Lobster Shack on June 30, 2023 in Newport, R.I.Glenn Osmundson At the Newport Lobster Shack, co-op president Dave Spencer hands a channel whelk, or conch, to manager Eileen Braman for a customer on Friday, June 30, 2023. Andrea E. McHugh, BostonGlobe.com, 6 July 2023 Beyond that, sand dollars, conch shells, murex shells, worm-snail shells, Florida spiny jewel boxes, and lightning whelk shells are just a few of the varieties found there. Melissa Locker, Southern Living, 20 June 2023 Once the whelk slipped back into the spiral tunnel of its shell, the shell provides protection similar to a fortress. Discover Magazine, 31 Jan. 2013 Yet the whelk's shell (right) is even more amazing. Discover Magazine, 31 Jan. 2013

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'whelk.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English welke, from Old English weoloc; akin to Middle Dutch willoc whelk and perhaps to Latin volvere to turn — more at voluble

Noun (2)

Middle English whelke, from Old English hwylca, from hwelian to suppurate

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of whelk was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near whelk

Cite this Entry

“Whelk.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whelk. Accessed 21 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

whelk

noun
ˈhwelk,
ˈwelk,
ˈwilk
: any of numerous large marine snails
especially : one used for food in Europe

More from Merriam-Webster on whelk

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!