A pair of dolphins.
An example of a dolphin is a friendly whale that lives in the oceans or at aquariums.
- any of two widespread families (Platanistidae and Delphinidae) of toothed whales having high levels of intelligence and usually a beaklike snout
- any of a percoid family (Coryphaenidae) of marine game fishes with colors that brighten and change when the fish is taken out of the water
- Naut. a buoy, pile, or, esp., a cluster of piles for mooring a vessel
Origin of dolphinMiddle English dolfin ; from Old French dalphin ; from Vulgar Latin dalfinus, for Classical Latin delphinus ; from Classical Greek delphinos, genitive of delphis, akin to delphys, womb (; from Indo-European base an unverified form gwelbh-): so named from its shape
nounpl. dolphin or dol·phins
- a. Any of various marine toothed whales of the family Delphinidae, having a beaklike snout, a curved dorsal fin, and a slender streamlined body.b. Any of several toothed whales inhabiting rivers and estuaries in South America and South Asia, having a long narrow beak, broad flippers, a flexible neck, and usually a reduced dorsal fin. A species native to the Yangtze River is thought to be extinct. Also called river dolphin.
- a. See dolphinfish.b. See pompano dolphinfish.
- a. A buoy, pile, or group of piles used for mooring boats.b. A group of piers used as a fender at a dock.
Origin of dolphinMiddle English, from Old French daulfin, blend of daufin and Old Provençal dalfin, both from Medieval Latin *dalfinus, from Latin delph&imacron;nus, from Greek delph&imacron;s, delph&imacron;n-, from delphus, womb (from its shape).
- A carnivorous aquatic mammal inhabiting mostly in the shallower seas of the continental shelves, famed for its intelligence and occasional willingness to approach humans.
- 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.
- The dauphin, eldest son of the kings of France.
- (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.
- (nautical) A kind of wreath or strap of plaited cordage.
- (nautical) A spar or buoy held by an anchor and furnished with a ring to which ships may fasten their cables.
- A mooring post on a wharf or beach.
- A permanent fender around a heavy boat just below the gunwale.
Middle English dolfin, from Old French daulphin, dalphin, daufin, from Latin delphīnus, from Ancient Greek δελφίς (delphis), from δελφύς (delphus) "womb".
From 3rd Duke of Alba (duc d'Albe in French), who was the first to let build this type of structures in the Spanish Netherlands in the 16th century.