What does Dolphin mean?

Definitions for Dolphin
ˈdɒl fɪn, ˈdɔl-dol·phin

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word Dolphin.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. dolphinfish, dolphin, mahimahinoun

    large slender food and game fish widely distributed in warm seas (especially around Hawaii)

  2. dolphinnoun

    any of various small toothed whales with a beaklike snout; larger than porpoises


  1. dolphinnoun

    (Zool.) The Coryph


  1. dolphinnoun

    A carnivorous aquatic mammal inhabiting mostly in the shallower seas of the continental shelves, famed for its intelligence and occasional willingness to approach humans.

  2. dolphinnoun

    A fish, the mahi-mahi or dorado, scientific name Coryphaena hippurus, with a dorsal fin that runs the length of the body, also known for iridescent coloration.

  3. dolphinnoun

    The dauphin, eldest son of the kings of France.

  4. dolphinnoun

    A maritime semi submerged man-made structure usually close to shore.

  5. Etymology: dolfin, from daulphin, dalphin, daufin, from delphinus, from δελφίς, from δελφύς "womb".

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Dolphinnoun

    The name of a fish.

    Etymology: delphin, Latin; though the dolphin is supposed to be not the same fish.

    His delights
    Were dolphin like; they shew’d his back above
    The element they liv’d in. William Shakespeare, Anth. and Cleopatra.

    You may draw boys riding upon goats, eagles, and dolphins. Henry Peacham, on Drawing.


  1. Dolphin

    A dolphin is an aquatic mammal within the infraorder Cetacea. Dolphin species belong to the families Delphinidae (the oceanic dolphins), Platanistidae (the Indian river dolphins), Iniidae (the New World river dolphins), Pontoporiidae (the brackish dolphins), and the extinct Lipotidae (baiji or Chinese river dolphin). There are 40 extant species named as dolphins. Dolphins range in size from the 1.7-metre-long (5 ft 7 in) and 50-kilogram (110-pound) Maui's dolphin to the 9.5 m (31 ft 2 in) and 10-tonne (11-short-ton) orca. Various species of dolphins exhibit sexual dimorphism where the males are larger than females. They have streamlined bodies and two limbs that are modified into flippers. Though not quite as flexible as seals, some dolphins can briefly travel at speeds of 29 kilometres (18 mi) per hour or leap about 30 feet (9.1 m). Dolphins use their conical teeth to capture fast-moving prey. They have well-developed hearing which is adapted for both air and water. It is so well developed that some can survive even if they are blind. Some species are well adapted for diving to great depths. They have a layer of fat, or blubber, under the skin to keep warm in the cold water. Dolphins are widespread. Most species prefer the warm waters of the tropic zones, but some, such as the right whale dolphin, prefer colder climates. Dolphins feed largely on fish and squid, but a few, such as the orca, feed on large mammals such as seals. Male dolphins typically mate with multiple females every year, but females only mate every two to three years. Calves are typically born in the spring and summer months and females bear all the responsibility for raising them. Mothers of some species fast and nurse their young for a relatively long period of time. Dolphins produce a variety of vocalizations, usually in the form of clicks and whistles. Dolphins are sometimes hunted in places such as Japan, in an activity known as dolphin drive hunting. Besides drive hunting, they also face threats from bycatch, habitat loss, and marine pollution. Dolphins have been depicted in various cultures worldwide. Dolphins are sometimes kept in captivity and trained to perform tricks. The most common dolphin species in captivity is the bottlenose dolphin, while there are around 60 orcas in captivity.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Dolphinnoun

    a cetacean of the genus Delphinus and allied genera (esp. D. delphis); the true dolphin

  2. Dolphinnoun

    the Coryphaena hippuris, a fish of about five feet in length, celebrated for its surprising changes of color when dying. It is the fish commonly known as the dolphin. See Coryphaenoid

  3. Dolphinnoun

    a mass of iron or lead hung from the yardarm, in readiness to be dropped on the deck of an enemy's vessel

  4. Dolphinnoun

    a kind of wreath or strap of plaited cordage

  5. Dolphinnoun

    a spar or buoy held by an anchor and furnished with a ring to which ships may fasten their cables

  6. Dolphinnoun

    a mooring post on a wharf or beach

  7. Dolphinnoun

    a permanent fender around a heavy boat just below the gunwale

  8. Dolphinnoun

    in old ordnance, one of the handles above the trunnions by which the gun was lifted

  9. Dolphinnoun

    a small constellation between Aquila and Pegasus. See Delphinus, n., 2

  10. Etymology: [F. dauphin dolphin, dauphin, earlier spelt also doffin; cf. OF. dalphinal of the dauphin; fr. L. delphinus, Gr. delfi`s a dolphin (in senses 1, 2, 3, & 6), perh. properly, belly fish; cf. delfy`s womb, Skr. garbha; perh. akin to E. calf. Cf. Dauphin, Delphine.]


  1. Dolphin

    Dolphins are marine mammals closely related to whales and porpoises. There are almost forty species of dolphin in 17 genera. They vary in size from 1.2 m and 40 kg, up to 9.5 m and 10 tonnes. They are found worldwide, mostly in the shallower seas of the continental shelves, and are carnivores, eating mostly fish and squid. The family Delphinidae is the largest in the Cetacean order, and evolved relatively recently, about ten million years ago, during the Miocene. Dolphins are among the most intelligent animals, and their often friendly appearance, an artifact of the "smile" of their mouthline, and seemingly playful attitude have made them very popular in human culture.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Dolphin

    dol′fin, n. an animal of the whale kind, closely resembling the porpoise, about 8 or 10 feet long: the coryphæna, a fish about 5 feet in length, noted for the brilliancy of its colours when dying.—ns. Dol′phinet (Spens.), a female dolphin; Dol′phin-fly, a black aphis or plant-louse, destructive to bean-plants. [O. Fr. daulphin—L. delphinus—Gr. delphis, -phinos.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. dolphin

    Naturalists understand by this word numerous species of small cetaceous animals of the genus Delphinus, found in nearly all seas. They greatly resemble porpoises, and are often called by this name by sailors; but they are distinguished by having a longer and more slender snout. The word is also generally, but less correctly, applied to a fish, the dorado (Coryphæna hippuris), celebrated for the changing hues of its surface when dying. Also, a small light ancient boat, which gave rise to Pliny's story of the boy going daily to school across the Lucrine lake on a dolphin. Also, in ordnance, especially brass guns, two handles nearly over the trunnions for lifting the guns by. Also, a French gold coin (dauphine), formerly in great currency. Also, a stout post on a quay-head, or in a beach, to make hawsers fast to. The name is also given to a spar or block of wood, with a ring-bolt at each end, through which a hawser can be rove, for vessels to ride by; the same as wooden buoys.

Editors Contribution

  1. dolphin

    A type of animal.

    Dolphins are so beautiful to see.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 8, 2020  

Etymology and Origins

  1. Dolphin

    A gold coin introduced by Charles V. of France, also Dauphin of Vienne.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Dolphin is ranked #16125 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Dolphin surname appeared 1,795 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 1 would have the surname Dolphin.

    71.9% or 1,292 total occurrences were White.
    22.6% or 406 total occurrences were Black.
    2.5% or 45 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    2.5% or 45 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    0.3% or 7 total occurrences were Asian.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Dolphin' in Nouns Frequency: #2186

How to pronounce Dolphin?

How to say Dolphin in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of Dolphin in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of Dolphin in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

Examples of Dolphin in a Sentence

  1. Emily Pettersson:

    [The dolphin’s] fin was mangled, you could see it was falling off and it had a bite mark on the side of the body as well.

  2. Chrissie Frickman:

    I knew right away he was going to land in the boat, because of the way he was facing -- knocked me backwards and then landed kind of on my feet and ankles, it was pretty much chaos at that point -- my wife had fallen down, she was screaming, the dolphin was making screaming noises, my daughter was totally freaking out and screaming.

  3. Kat Zhou:

    Though I did not witness the transformation, I was enchanted by these beautiful mammals in a different way, after seeing how botos would sometimes bring their beaks above water, I wanted a split shot at sunset. Though the water was so dark that I was shooting blind, this dolphin gave me a perfect pose and smile.

  4. Elinor Dempsey:

    First I thought it was a dolphin and I thought, ‘What the hell is he doing?’ and he kind of landed on my board. Then I realized he had taken a chunk. And I was, like, that’s not what dolphins do.

  5. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

    The timing, location, and nature of the lesions support that oil compounds from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill caused these lesions and contributed to the high numbers of dolphin deaths within this oil spill's footprint.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for Dolphin

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"Dolphin." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 7 Jun 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/Dolphin>.

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    occurring from time to time
    • A. occasional
    • B. profound
    • C. whirring
    • D. victimised

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