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Old English hwelp 'pup, wolf cub', from Proto-Germanic *hwelpaz (compare Dutch welp, obsolete German Welf, Danish hvalp), from pre-Germanic *kʷelbos, from Proto-Indo-European *gʷelbhos (compare Old Church Slavonic жрѣбѧ (žrěbę) 'foal', Latin vulva, bolva, volba 'womb', Ancient Greek βρέφος (bréphos) 'fœtus, newborn', Hittite huēlpi 'overipe, fresh; newborn animal', Sanskrit उल्ब (úlba, úlva) 'womb').(Can this(+) etymology be sourced?)


whelp (plural whelps)

  1. A young offspring of a canid (ursid, felid, pinniped), especially of a dog or a wolf, the young of a bear or similar mammal (lion, tiger, seal); a pup, wolf cub.
  2. (derogatory) An insolent youth; a mere child.
    • Addison
      That awkward whelp with his money bags would have made his entrance.
  3. (obsolete) A kind of ship.
  4. One of several wooden strips to prevent wear on a windlass on a clipper-era ship.
  5. A tooth on a sprocket wheel (compare sprocket, def. 2; cog, def. 1).

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whelp (third-person singular simple present whelps, present participle whelping, simple past and past participle whelped)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) (of she-dog, she-wolf, vixen, etc.) To give birth.
    The bitch whelped.
    The she-wolf whelped a large litter of cubs.



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