Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: Dolphin


English Wikipedia has an article on:
A bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)
The dolphin as usually depicted in heraldry


Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English dolfin, from Old French daulphin, dalphin, daufin, from Latin delphīnus, from Ancient Greek δελφίς (delphís), from δελφύς (delphús, womb). Compare Swedish delfin. Doublet of dauphin. Displaced native mereswine (dolphin or porpoise), from Old English mereswīn (literally sea pig).


dolphin (plural dolphins)

  1. A carnivorous aquatic mammal in one of several families of order Cetacea, famed for its intelligence and occasional willingness to approach humans.
    Synonyms: mereswine, sea goose, sea pig
  2. A fish, the mahi-mahi or dorado, Coryphaena hippurus, with a dorsal fin that runs the length of the body, also known for iridescent coloration.
  3. (heraldry) A depiction of a fish, with a broad indented fin, usually embowed.
  4. The dauphin, eldest son of the kings of France.
  5. (historical) A mass of iron or lead hung from the yardarm, in readiness to be dropped through the deck and the hull of an enemy's vessel to sink it.
  6. (nautical) A kind of wreath or strap of plaited cordage.
  7. (nautical) A spar or buoy held by an anchor and furnished with a ring to which ships may fasten their cables[1].
  8. A mooring post on a wharf or beach.
  9. A permanent fender around a heavy boat just below the gunwale.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Ham. Nav. Encyc to this entry?)
  10. (military, obsolete) One of the handles above the trunnions by which a gun was lifted.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for dolphin in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)

Derived terms[edit]


See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

English Wikipedia has an article on:
Dolphin structures in Germany.

Ultimately from 3rd Duke of Alba (duc-d'Albe in French), who was the first to build this type of structure in the Spanish Netherlands in the 16th century. Possibly from Dutch dukdalf, or the plural dukdalven, through elision of the initial duk-.


dolphin (plural dolphins)

  1. (nautical) A man-made semi submerged maritime structure, usually installed to provide a fixed structure for temporary mooring, to prevent ships from drifting to shallow water or to serve as base for navigational aids.



  1. ^ 1841, Richard Henry Dana Jr., The Seaman's Friend