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[dol-fin, dawl-] /ˈdɒl fɪn, ˈdɔl-/
any of several chiefly marine, cetacean mammals of the family Delphinidae, having a fishlike body, numerous teeth, and the front of the head elongated into a beaklike projection.
Also called dolphinfish, mahimahi, pompano dolphin. either of two large, slender fishes, Coryphaena hippurus or C. equisetis, of warm and temperate seas.
  1. a pile, cluster of piles, or buoy to which a vessel may be moored in open water.
  2. a cluster of piles used as a fender, as at the entrance to a dock.
  3. a pudding fender at the nose of a tugboat or on the side of a vessel.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Delphinus.
Origin of dolphin
1300-50; Middle English dolphyn < Old French daulphin < Old Provençal dalfin < Vulgar Latin *dalfīnus, Latin delphīnus < Greek delphī́n Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for dolphin
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • At daylight on the 30th May 1840, the dolphin being under easy sail off Whydah, a brigantine was observed on the lee-bow.

    Our Sailors W.H.G. Kingston
  • It was a lake of rainbow light, in which, for a short while, I lived like a dolphin.

  • In fact, it is in the next mine to the Hop Toad—the dolphin.

    Dick Hamilton's Fortune Howard R. Garis
  • The Coryphæna hippuris, an oceanic fish; often called "dolphin."

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • The inn long afterwards gave its name to dolphin Street, which the street still retains.

    The King's Post R. C. Tombs
British Dictionary definitions for dolphin


any of various marine cetacean mammals of the family Delphinidae, esp Delphinus delphis, that are typically smaller than whales and larger than porpoises and have a beaklike snout
river dolphin, any freshwater cetacean of the family Platanistidae, inhabiting rivers of North and South America and S Asia. They are smaller than marine dolphins and have a longer narrower snout
Also called dorado. either of two large marine percoid fishes, Coryphaena hippurus or C. equisetis, that resemble the cetacean dolphins and have an iridescent coloration
(nautical) a post or buoy for mooring a vessel
Word Origin
C13: from Old French dauphin, via Latin, from Greek delphin-, delphis
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dolphin

mid-14c., from Old French daulphin, from Medieval Latin dolfinus, from Latin delphinus "dolphin," from Greek delphis (genitive delphinos) "dolphin," related to delphys "womb," perhaps via notion of the animal bearing live young, or from its shape, from PIE *gwelbh-. Popularly applied to the dorado from late 16c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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