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 whales; especially a blunt-snouted usually largely black whale (Phocoena phocoena) of the North Atlantic and North Pacific that is five to eight feet (1.5 to 2.4 meters) long 2. dolphin 1a(1) II. intransitive verb Date: 1909 1. to leap or plunge like a porpoise <
penguins…porpoise out of the water — David Lewis
2. to rise and fall repeatedly

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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},… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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.… …   Australian English 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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