American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A large marine mammal (Odobenus rosmarus) of Arctic regions, related to the seals and having two long tusks, tough wrinkled skin, and four flippers. Also called sea horse.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Any member of the family Trichechidæ (or Ros maridæ); a very large pinniped carnivorous mammal, related to the seals, having in the male enormous canine teeth protruding like tusks from the upper jaw. The common walrus, T. rosmarus, the, morse, sea-horse, sea-ox, or sea-cow, attains a total length of 10 to 12 feet in the full-grown male; individuals are reported to exceed 14 feet; a more nearly average length is 8 to 10 feet, with a girth of about as much. A weight of 2,500 to 3,000 pounds is acquired by old bulls, with a yield of 500 pounds of blubber. The whole length of the canines is about 2 feet, when they are full-grown, with a projection of 15 inches or more. These teeth are used in digging for the clams which form the principal food of the animal, and in climbing over uneven surfaces of rock or ice. A walrus 12 feet long has the fore flippers 2 feet long by about 1 foot broad; the flukes each about this length, but 2½ feet in extreme breadth when pressed out flat. The mammæ; of the female are two pairs, respectively abdominal and inguinal. Young and mid dle-aged individuals of both sexes are covered with a short coarse hair of a yellowish-brown color, deepening into dark reddish-brown on the belly and at the bases of the limbs. Old animals, especially the bulls, become almost naked, and the skin grows heavily wrinkled and plaited, especially on the fore quarters. In the glacial period the walrus ranged in North America southward on the Atlan tic coast to South Carolina. There is no evidence of its existence in New England since about 1550; from this date to 1600 it lived south to Nova Scotia. It now in habits some parts of Labrador, shores of Hudson's Bay, Greenland, and arctic regions as far north as Eskimos live or explorers have gone. It has been found in Scotland of late years, and on or off the arctic coasts of Europe and Asia, especially in Spitzbergen and Nova Zembla. It is readily captured, and the systematic destruction to which it has long been subjected has materially diminished its numbers in many different places. The blubber yields a valuable oil; from the hide a very tough and durable lea ther is made; and the tusks yield a superior ivory. The walrus of the North Pacific is now generally thought to be specifically distinct, and is known as T. or R. obesus, and Cook's walrus. It attains even greater size and weight than the common morse, and the hide is extremely rough. See also cuts under
- n. countable A large Arctic marine mammal related to seals and having long tusks, tough, wrinkled skin, and four flippers.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) A very large marine mammal (Trichecus rosmarus) of the Seal family, native of the Arctic Ocean. The male has long and powerful tusks descending from the upper jaw. It uses these in procuring food and in fighting. It is hunted for its oil, ivory, and skin. It feeds largely on mollusks. Called also
- n. either of two large northern marine mammals having ivory tusks and tough hide over thick blubber
- From Danish hvalros, inversion of Old Norse hrosshvalr ("horse-whale"). Compare Dutch walrus, Icelandic hross ("a horse") and hvalur ("a whale") and German Walross. (Wiktionary)
- Dutch, of Scandinavian origin. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The great man of course frowned and pulled his "walrus" -- the kind that has hanging, hairy selvages on it, such as serve as warnings for "low bridge" on the railroads -- smote his desk firmly, and said it would never do!”
“They include some of the country's rarest and least protected species, like the American wolverine, whose ranks have dwindled to fewer than 500 in the lower 48 states, and the Pacific walrus, which is rapidly losing the sea ice it needs to survive.”
“A whale of a walrus is the new star attraction at Seaworld in San Diego.”
“A very hungry bear will sometimes attack a walrus in the water, for the polar bear is a powerful swimmer; but in his peculiar element -- and he is never far from it -- the walrus is the best fighter, and his tough hide serves as an almost impenetrable armor.”
“The walrus, which is hunted by the Eskimo in kyak and from ice flow, is also sought after by the Hudson's Bay Company, and is hunted by the Company's employees in small vessels sailing out of Churchill.”
“On the very day of sailing they caught their first glimpse of some large species of seal or walrus, which is thus described by the old narrator of the expedition: --”
“When seen close at hand the walrus is a very ugly monster.”
“The jaw of the walrus is the least regular, and the incisors are generally wanting, especially in the full-grown animal; for it appears they lose them very young, as you lost your milk teeth, only, unluckily for the walrus, his never grow again.”
“One of the chief characteristics of the walrus is the presence of two elongated tusks (the canine teeth) in the upper jaw.”
“The young lady workin 'says that the walrus is the most socially inappropriate animal they have there.”
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