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[hwelp, welp] /ʰwɛlp, wɛlp/
the young of the dog, or of the wolf, bear, lion, tiger, seal, etc.
a youth, especially an impudent or despised one.
  1. any of a series of longitudinal projections or ridges on the barrel of a capstan, windlass, etc.
  2. any of the teeth of a sprocket wheel.
verb (used with or without object)
(of a female dog, lion, etc.) to give birth to (young).
Origin of whelp
before 900; (noun) Middle English; Old English hwelp (cognate with German Welf); (v.) Middle English whelpen, derivative of the noun
Related forms
whelpless, adjective
unwhelped, adjective
2. brat, urchin, whippersnapper. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for whelp
Historical Examples
  • And you have now returned to the tiger's den to mock that dangerous animal with the loss of its whelp.

    Green Mansions W. H. Hudson
  • But it was provoking to be flouted, so politely too, by that whelp of the Golden Dog!

    The Golden Dog William Kirby
  • The moon does not respond to all this wonder by descending into the whelp's jaws—no more will my niece.

  • You've done your work and that whelp shall not keep you out of its results.

    Frenzied Finance Thomas W. Lawson
  • Also he had heard stories of the Wolf and the whelp, as the forest folk called them, and now the whelp told the tale himself.

    The Valkyries Edward Frederic Benson
  • Gie a bairn his will, and a whelp its fill, and nane o' them will e'er do weel.

    The Proverbs of Scotland Alexander Hislop
  • In the twentieth tale we have a calf and a lion's whelp brought up together by a lioness upon the same milk.

  • I hardly think the whelp will try another trick, but there is no telling.

    Frank Merriwell's Races Burt L. Standish
  • He wasn't much more than a whelp then—about six months old, Mukoki said.

    The Wolf Hunters James Oliver Curwood
  • Stop that barkin', now, you whelp, Or I'll kick you till you yelp!

    Farm Ballads Will Carleton
British Dictionary definitions for whelp


a young offspring of certain animals, esp of a wolf or dog
(derogatory) a young man or youth
(jocular) a young child
(nautical) any of the ridges, parallel to the axis, on the drum of a capstan to keep a rope, cable, or chain from slipping
(of an animal or, disparagingly, a woman) to give birth to (young)
Word Origin
Old English hwelp(a); related to Old High German hwelf, Old Norse hvelpr, Danish hvalp
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 whelp

Old English hwelp "whelp, young of the dog," from a Germanic root related to Old Saxon hwelp, Old Norse hvelpr, Dutch welp, German hwelf; of unknown origin. Now largely displaced by puppy. Also applied to wild animals. Sense of "scamp" first recorded early 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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