porpoise

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English[edit]

Phocoena phocoena (1)

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English porpeys, purpeys, from Anglo-Norman porpeis, purpeis, Old French pourpois, pourpais, porpeis (porpoise), from Vulgar Latin *porcopiscis (porpoise, literally pig-fish), from Latin porcus (pig) + piscis (fish). Compare (in transposed order) obsolete Italian pesce porco and Portuguese peixe porco; also Latin porcus marinus (sea hog), akin in formation to German Meerschwein, English mereswine. More at mereswine.

Noun[edit]

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porpoise (plural porpoises)

  1. A small cetacean of the family Phocoenidae, related to whales and dolphins.
  2. (North America, imprecisely) Any small dolphin.

Synonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

porpoise (third-person singular simple present porpoises, present participle porpoising, simple past and past participle porpoised)

  1. (intransitive) Said of an aircraft: to make a series of plunges when taking off or landing.

See also[edit]