Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A spearlike weapon with a barbed head used in hunting whales and large fish.
  • transitive verb To strike, kill, or capture with or as if with a spearlike weapon.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To strike, catch, or kill with a harpoon.
  • noun A missile weapon used in capturing whales and large fish, and either thrown by hand or fired from a gun. See harpoon-gun.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A spear or javelin used to strike and kill large fish, as whales; a harping iron. It consists of a long shank, with a broad, flat, triangular head, sharpened at both edges, and is thrown by hand, or discharged from a gun.
  • noun a kind of hayfork, consisting of a bar with hinged barbs at one end and a loop for a rope at the other end, used for lifting hay from the load by horse power.
  • noun a gun used in the whale fishery for shooting the harpoon into a whale.
  • transitive verb To strike, catch, or kill with a harpoon.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A spearlike weapon with a barbed head used in hunting whales and large fish.
  • noun slang A harmonica.
  • verb transitive To hunt something with a harpoon.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb spear with a harpoon
  • noun a spear with a shaft and barbed point for throwing; used for catching large fish or whales; a strong line is attached to it

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Probably from Dutch harpoen, from Middle Dutch, from Old French harpon, possibly from harpe, clamp, claw, from Latin harpa, sickle, from Greek harpē.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French harpon, from Latin harpaga, from Ancient Greek ἁρπάγη (harpagē, "hook"), from ἁρπάζω (harpazō, "to snatch away, to carry off, to seize, to captivate").

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