Dol"phin (?), n. [F. dauphin dolphin, dauphin, earlier spelt also doffin; cf. OF. dalphinal of the dauphin; fr. L. delphinus, Gr. a dolphin (in senses 1, 2, & 5), perh. properly, belly fish; cf. womb, Skr. garbha; perh. akin to E. calf. Cf. Dauphin, Delphine.]

1. Zool. (a)

A cetacean of the genus Delphinus and allied genera (esp. D. delphis); the true dolphin

. (b)

The Coryphaena hippuris, a fish of about five feet in length, celebrated for its surprising changes of color when dying. It is the fish commonly known as the dolphin. See Coryphaenoid.

The dolphin of the ancients (D. delphis) is common in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, and attains a length of from six to eight feet.

2. [Gr. ] Gr. Antiq.

A mass of iron or lead hung from the yardarm, in readiness to be dropped on the deck of an enemy's vessel.

3. Naut. (a)

A kind of wreath or strap of plaited cordage.


A spar or buoy held by an anchor and furnished with a ring to which ships may fasten their cables.

R. H. Dana. (c)

A mooring post on a wharf or beach.


A permanent fender around a heavy boat just below the gunwale.

Ham. Nav. Encyc.

4. Gun.

In old ordnance, one of the handles above the trunnions by which the gun was lifted.

5. Astron.

A small constellation between Aquila and Pegasus. See Delphinus, n.,


Dolphin fly Zool., the black, bean, or collier, Aphis (Aphis fable), destructive to beans. -- Dolphin striker Naut., a short vertical spar under the bowsprit.


© Webster 1913.