Porpoise Por"poise, n. [OE. porpeys, OF. porpeis, literally, hog fish, from L. porcus swine + piscis fish. See {Pork}, and {Fish}.] 1. (Zo["o]l.) Any small cetacean of the genus {Phoc[ae]na}, especially {Phoc[ae]na communis}, or {Phoc[ae]na phoc[ae]na}, of Europe, and the closely allied American species ({Phoc[ae]na 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}. [1913 Webster]

2. (Zo["o]l.) A true dolphin ({Delphinus}); -- often so called by sailors. [1913 Webster]

{Skunk porpoise}, or {Bay porpoise} (Zo["o]l.), a North American porpoise ({Lagenorhynchus acutus}), larger than the common species, and with broad stripes of white and yellow on the sides. See Illustration in Appendix. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • porpoise — c.1300, from O.Fr. porpais (12c.), lit. pork fish, from porc pork (see PORK (Cf. pork)) + peis fish, from L. piscis fish. The Old French word is probably a loan translation of a Germanic word, Cf. O.N. mar svin, O.H.G. meri swin, M.Du. mereswijn …   Etymology dictionary

  • porpoise — [pôr′pəs] n. pl. porpoises or porpoise [ME porpoys < OFr porpeis, lit., swine fish < L porcus, pig (see FARROW1) + piscis, FISH] 1. any of a family (Phocoenidae) of small, usually gregarious toothed whales found in most seas, with a torpedo …   English World dictionary

  • porpoise — is pronounced paw pǝs, in preference to a second syllable as in poise …   Modern English usage

  • porpoise — ► NOUN ▪ a small toothed whale with a blunt rounded snout. ORIGIN Old French porpois, from Latin porcus pig + piscis fish …   English terms dictionary

  • porpoise — porpoiselike, adj. /pawr peuhs/, n., pl. (esp. collectively) porpoise, (esp. referring to two or more kinds or species) porpoises, v., porpoised, porpoising. n. 1. any of several small, gregarious cetaceans of the genus Phocoena, usually blackish …   Universalium

  • Porpoise — Taxobox name = Porpoises fossil range = Mid Miocene to Recent image width = 225px image caption = Phocoena phocoena , Harbour Porpoise at the Fjord Bæltcentret in Denmark regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Mammalia ordo = Cetacea… …   Wikipedia

  • porpoise — n. 1) a school of porpoises 2) a young porpoise is a calf 3) a female porpoise is a cow 4) a male porpoise is a bull * * * [ pɔːpəs] a female porpoise is a cow a male porpoise is a bull a school of porpoises a young porpoise is a calf …   Combinatory dictionary

  • porpoise — /ˈpɔpəs / (say pawpuhs) noun (plural porpoises, porpoise) 1. any of several small, gregarious cetaceans of the genus Phocoena, usually blackish above and paler underneath, and with a blunt, rounded snout, especially the common porpoise, P.… …  

  • porpoise — I. noun Etymology: Middle English porpoys, from Anglo French porpeis, from Medieval Latin porcopiscis, from Latin porcus pig + piscis fish more at farrow, fish Date: 14th century 1. any of a family (Phocoenidae) of small gregarious toothed… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • porpoise — [14] The porpoise is etymologically the ‘pig fish’. The word comes via Old French porpois from Vulgar Latin *porcopiscis, a compound formed from porcus ‘pig’ (source of English pork) and piscis ‘fish’ (a relative of English fish) and based on the …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

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