From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English whelp, from Old English hwelp, from Proto-West Germanic *hwelp, from Proto-Germanic *hwelpaz (compare Dutch welp, German Welpe, Welfe, Old Norse hvelpr, Norwegian Nynorsk kvelp, Danish hvalp), from pre-Germanic *kʷelbos, of uncertain origin.



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.
    • July 13, 1713, Joseph Addison, The Guardian
      That awkward whelp with his money bags would have made his entrance.
    • October 22, 2011, Princess Luna, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, "Luna Eclipsed"
      Thy backside is whole and ungobbled, thou ungrateful whelp!
  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 and cog).
Derived terms[edit]
See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English whelpen, from Old English hwelpian, derived from hwelp.


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.

Etymology 3[edit]

Variant of welp.



  1. Alternative form of welp (well)

Middle English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


From Old English hwelp, from Proto-West Germanic *hwelp, from Proto-Germanic *hwelpaz.



whelp (plural whelpes)

  1. A whelp (a puppy or a baby dog)
  2. A whelp (the young of other animals, especially canids and felids)
  3. A whelp (as an insulting term)
  4. (rare) An unknown kind of mechanical machine or system.

Related terms[edit]


  • English: whelp
  • Scots: whalp, whaulp