Definitions

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

  • noun An inflamed swelling, such as a pimple or pustule.
  • noun Any of various large marine carnivorous snails chiefly of the family Buccinidae, having a pointed spiral shell, especially the edible species Buccinum undatum of the North Atlantic Ocean.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A wheal; a pustule; a swelling or protuberance, as on the body.
  • noun A gastropod of the family Buccinidæ in a broad sense; a buccinid, or some similar univalve with a spiral gibbous shell whose aperture forms a kind of spout, and whose whorls are more or less varicose or whelked.

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

  • noun (Zoöl.) Any one numerous species of large marine gastropods belonging to Buccinum and allied genera; especially, Buccinum undatum, common on the coasts both of Europe and North America, and much used as food in Europe.
  • noun a dog whelk. See under Dog.
  • noun A papule; a pustule; acne.
  • noun A stripe or mark; a ridge; a wale.
  • noun (Med.) sycosis.
  • noun (Med.) grog blossom.

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

  • noun An edible sea snail. Formally, any one of numerous species of large marine gastropods belonging to Buccinum and allied genera, and much used as food in Europe.

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

  • verb gather whelk
  • noun large marine snail much used as food in Europe
  • noun large carnivorous marine gastropods of coastal waters and intertidal regions having a strong snail-like shell

Etymologies

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

[Middle English whelke, from Old English hwylca; akin to hwelian, to suppurate.]

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

[Middle English welke, whelke, from Old English weoloc; see wel- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English weoloc, wioloc, from Proto-Germanic *weluka- (compare Middle Dutch willoc, Dutch wulk), perhaps from Proto-Indo-European *wel- (“to turn, revolve”) (whence vulva and volute) Spelling wh- from 15th century.

Examples

  • Algal turfs are grown on screens and then fed to herbivores such as whelk, parrotfish, and crab.

    Chapter 3

  • Black drink was ladled, and we each accepted the shell cup—cut from a huge whelk—and drank.

    Fire The Sky

  • Set aside for the moment the friendly relationship with Respect that preceded the courtroom farce of Labour's candidate selection process, put temporarily from your mind some of his business connections, banish momentarily concerns that he's too matey by half with the Tower Hamlets religious right, and subject him to the basic whelk stall test.

    Tower Hamlets: ineptitude and nastiness marr Lutfur Rahman campaign

  • It is probably Busycon sinistrum, the lightning whelk, although I may be mistaken.

    Archive 2009-03-01

  • Black drink was ladled, and we each accepted the shell cup—cut from a huge whelk—and drank.

    Fire The Sky

  • "The Big Question to emerge so far: Is Rupert Murdoch a fit and proper person to run a whelk stall?" the conservative political commentator Iain Dale wrote in a Twitter post.

    Scandal's Latest Twists Seem Tabloid-Made

  • "Why is present government policy ... now determined by people who would have serious trouble managing a whelk stall?"

    April 15th, 2009

  • Among the Barrier Islands along the Gulf Coast in Florida, Sanibel Island is considered one of the best shelling destinations in the world -- with beaches abound with conch, scallops and lightning whelk seashells.

    America's Island Paradises

  • McWilliam was born in Edinburgh, a city that was the wellspring of all her best qualities (her uncomplaining Protestantism, her whelk-eating thriftiness) and her worst (no one is harder on Candia than Candia).

    What to Look for in Winter: A Memoir of Blindness by Candia McWilliam

  • Sometimes I work my way out as far as the boat channel, with nothing more to show for my labors than a not-quite-perfect whelk shell.

    Corinne Demas: An Author's Adventures In Clamming

Comments

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  • From whom am I to take my marching orders? From men who fancy they are Admirable Crichtons,...but who have not got sufficient brains and ability to run a whelk stall?

    --J. Burns, 13 January 1894, in South-Western Star

    November 8, 2007

  • Also called a scungilli in the U.S.

    November 8, 2007

  • Scungilli being an Italian-American corruption of the Neapolitan word sconciglio. :-)

    November 8, 2007

  • and finally among the lamellibranch bivalves, that most depraved of the whole sub-species - the whelk. the whelk is nothing but a homosexual of the worst kind. this gay boy of the gastropods, this queer crustacean, this mincing mollusk, this screaming, prancing, limp-wristed queen of the deep makes me sick!

    June 30, 2008