American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of several gregarious toothed whales of the genus Phocaena and related genera, of oceanic waters, characteristically having a blunt snout and a triangular dorsal fin. Also called sea hog.
- n. Any of several related aquatic mammals, such as the dolphin.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A small toothed cetacean of the family Delphinidæ and subfamily Delphiminæ, and especially of the genus Phoeæna, of which there are several species, the best-known being P. communis, which attains a length of about 5 feet and has a blunt head not produced into a long beak, and a thick body tapering toward the tail. It is common in the North Atlantic, and usually goes in herds or shoals. It feeds almost entirely on fish. A fine oil is prepared from its blubber, and the skin is made into leather; the flesh is eatable. Several genera and numerous species of small cetaceans share the name porpoise, among them the dolphin. See Delphinus, Lagenorhynchus, and Tursiops.
- n. A small cetacean of the family Phocoenidae, related to whales and dolphins.
- n. North America, imprecisely Any small dolphin.
- v. intransitive Said of an aircraft: to make a series of plunges when taking off or landing.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) Any small cetacean of the genus Phocæna, especially Phocæna communis, or Phocæna phocæna, of Europe, and the closely allied American species (Phocæna Americana). The color is dusky or blackish above, paler beneath. They are closely allied to the dolphins, but have a shorter snout. Called also
harbor porpoise, herring hag, puffing pig, and snuffer.
- n. (Zoöl.) A true dolphin (Delphinus); -- often so called by sailors.
- n. any of several small gregarious cetacean mammals having a blunt snout and many teeth
- From Middle English porpeys, purpeys, from Anglo-Norman porpeis, purpeis, Old French pourpois, pourpais, porpeis ("porpoise"), from Vulgar Latin *porcopiscis (“porpoise”, literally "pig-fish"), from Latin porcus ("pig") + piscis ("fish"). Compare (in transposed order) obsolete Italian pesce porco and Portuguese peixe porco; also Latin porcus marinus ("sea hog"), akin in formation to German Meerschwein, English mereswine. More at mereswine. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English porpeis, from Old French (probably translation of a Germanic compound meaning sea-pig) : porc, pig (from Latin porcus; see porko- in Indo-European roots) + peis, fish (from Latin piscis). (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Many people are of opinion that the porpoise is a variety of the dolphin.”
“A porpoise is a vertical oscillation where you are just a step behind the aircraft and can't physically keep up with the machine; each control movement only serves to exaggerate the problem.”
“The dolphin is so uniformly miscalled porpoise, on the west coast and everywhere else, that the creature will soon come to think that it really is a porpoise.”
“This," exclaimed he, "if I mistake not, augurs well; the porpoise is a fat, well-conditioned fish, a burgomaster among fishes; his looks betoken ease, plenty, and prosperity; I greatly admire this round fat fish, and doubt not but this is a happy omen of the success of our undertaking.”
“The porpoise is a fish five or six feet in length, weighing from one hundred and fifty to three hundred pounds.”
“What Nairne calls a porpoise, is really the beluga, a small white whale.”
“So-called porpoise leather is made of the skin of the white whale.”
“The porpoise is the true dolphin, the sailor's dolphin being a fish with vertical tail, scales and gills.”
“Well, anyway, it's a porpoise, and a porpoise is a kind of shark, isn't it?”
“The porpoise is the kitten of the sea; he never has a serious thought, he cares for nothing but fun and play.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘porpoise’.
A list of words that are odd or words that I have looked up.
amazing water creatures
For more aporkalyptic fun, see madmouth's Everything's better with a pig in it.
For "references to the Dursleys in Wizard People, Dear Reader, Brad Neely's cosmos-shattering voiceover ...
"Echolocation, also called biosonar, is the biological sonar used by several animals such as shrews, most bats, and most cetaceans. The term was coined by Donald Griffin, whose work with Robert Gal...
Words that, as I see it, have some fond connection to the Alice stories through their creation or particular use by Lewis Carroll. I mean to tie them all together with contexty comments!
an immense, grandiloquent list that loads like a thousand years sentence in stone. new words are in the other lists.
For those who wish no words were ever forgotten
Another news story about words being removed from a dictionary before their time. See also the list of words added to the dictionary.
Names used for Behr Paints in spring of 2008. I'm curious to see if Behr gives the same colors different names in other years, so I've tagged each color with its Behr product number. It turns out t...
Hopefully, I'll be using this site for more than one year. It will be fun then to look back and see what new words I found worthy of notice in any given year.
All words spotted in 2008...
Looking for tweets for porpoise.