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.
- (UK) IPA(key): /ˈpɔːpəs/, /pɔːˈpɔɪs/
- (US) IPA(key): /ˈpɔːɹpəs/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɔː(ɹ)pəs, -ɔɪs
porpoise (plural porpoises)
- A small cetacean of the family Phocoenidae, related to whales and dolphins.
- (Canada, US, imprecisely) Any small dolphin.
- (intransitive) Said of an air-breathing aquatic animal such as a porpoise or penguin: To repeatedly jump out of the water to take a breath and dive back in a continuous motion.
- (intransitive) Said of an aircraft: to make a series of plunges when taking off or landing; or of a watercraft: to successively plunge up and down in the water.