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

  • n. A young offspring of a mammal, such as a dog or wolf.
  • n. A child; a youth.
  • n. An impudent young fellow.
  • n. A tooth of a sprocket wheel.
  • n. Nautical Any of the ridges on the barrel of a windlass or capstan.
  • intransitive v. To give birth to whelps or a whelp.
  • transitive v. To give birth to (whelps or a whelp).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A young offspring of a canid (ursid, felid, pinniped), especially of a dog or a wolf, the young of a bear or similar mammal (lion, tiger, seal); a pup, wolf cub.
  • n. An insolent (impudent, despised) youth, a mere child or youth.
  • n. A kind of ship.
  • n. One of several wooden strips to prevent wear on a windlass on a clipper-era ship.
  • n. A tooth on a sprocket wheel (compare sprocket, def. 2; cog, def. 1).
  • v. (of she-dog, she-wolf, vixen, etc.) To give birth.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One of the young of a dog or a beast of prey; a puppy; a cub.
  • n. A child; a youth; -- jocosely or in contempt.
  • n. One of the longitudinal ribs or ridges on the barrel of a capstan or a windless; -- usually in the plural.
  • n. One of the teeth of a sprocket wheel.
  • intransitive v. To bring forth young; -- said of the female of the dog and some beasts of prey.
  • transitive v. To bring forth, as cubs or young; to give birth to.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To bring forth young, as the female of the dog and various beasts of prey.
  • To bring forth, as a bitch, lioness, and many beasts of prey; hence, to give birth to; originate: used in contempt.
  • n. The young of the dog, wolf, lion, tiger, bear, seal, etc., but especially of the dog; a cub: sometimes applied to the whole canine species, whether young or old.
  • n. A youth; a cub; a puppy: a term of contempt.
  • n. A kind of ship.
  • n. Nautical, one of several longitudinal projections from the barrel of a capstan, windlass, or winch, provided to take the strain of the chain or rope which is being hove upon, and afford a firmer hold.
  • n. One of the teeth of a sprocket-wheel.

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

  • n. young of any of various canines such as a dog or wolf
  • v. birth


Middle English, from Old English hwelp.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English hwelp 'pup, wolf cub', from Proto-Germanic *hwelpaz (compare Dutch welp, obsolete German Welf, Danish hvalp), from pre-Germanic *kʷelbos, from Proto-Indo-European *gʷelbhos (compare Old Church Slavonic жрѣбѧ (žrěbę) 'foal', Latin vulva, bolva, volba 'womb', Ancient Greek βρέφος (bréphos) 'fœtus, newborn', Hittite huēlpi 'overipe, fresh; newborn animal', Sanskrit उल्ब (úlba, úlva) 'womb'). (Wiktionary)



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  • Oh, God! to sail with such a heathen crew that have small touch of human mothers in them! Whelped somewhere by the sharkish sea. The white whale is their demigorgon...

    - Melville, Moby-Dick, ch. 38

    July 25, 2008