dol"phin(dl"fn), n. [F. dauphin dolphin, dauphin, earlier spelt also doffin; cf. OF. dalphinal of the dauphin; fr. L. delphinus, Gr. delfi`s a dolphin (in senses 1, 2, 3, & 6), perh. properly, belly fish; cf. delfy`s womb, Skr. garbha; perh. akin to E. calf. Cf. Dauphin, Delphine.] 1. (Zool.) A cetacean of the genus Delphinus and allied genera (esp. Delphinus delphis); the true dolphin.
The dolphin of the ancients (Delphinus delphis) is common in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, and attains a length of from six to eight feet.
(Zool.) The Coryphna 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. The term is also applied to the related Coryphaena equisetis. Called also
dolphinfish and (especially in Hawaii)
mahimahi. See also dolphinfish and Coryphnoid.
Syn. -- dolphinfish, mahimahi.
[1913 Webster +PJC]
3. [Gr. delfi`s]
(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.
(Naut.) (a) A kind of wreath or strap of plaited cordage. (b) 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. (d) A permanent fender around a heavy boat just below the gunwale.
Ham. Nav. Encyc.
(Gun.) In old ordnance, one of the handles above the trunnions by which a cannon was lifted.
(Astron.) A small constellation between Aquila and Pegasus. See Delphinus,
(Zol.), the black, bean, or collier, Aphis (Aphis fable), destructive to beans. --
(Naut.), a short vertical spar under the bowsprit.
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