Definition of dolphin in English:


See synonyms for dolphin on

Translate dolphin into Spanish


  • 1A small gregarious toothed whale that typically has a beaklike snout and a curved fin on the back. Dolphins have become well known for their sociable nature and high intelligence.

    Families Delphinidae (marine) and Platanistidae (the river dolphins): several genera and many species

    ‘No captures of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins have occurred in the US since 1989.’
    • ‘And captive bottlenose dolphins have shown themselves to be skilled at replicating computer-generated sounds.’
    • ‘We passed numerous sting rays gliding along, then a large school of spinner dolphins leaping across our bow.’
    • ‘Common dolphins are sociable animals and entire shoals - averaging five individuals - frequently die together.’
    • ‘I saw a gray dolphin swimming alone, like a man in a serious suit.’
    • ‘A group of children saw dolphins swimming by.’
    • ‘Wild dolphins off the west coast of Australia were the first marine mammals in which cultural learning was observed.’
    • ‘In the State of Victoria it is illegal to feed wild dolphins.’
    • ‘In Australia it is illegal to feed wild dolphins or for a swimmer to approach within thirty metres of them.’
    • ‘Some Atlantic humpback dolphin populations are known only by a single specimen.’
    • ‘Spotted and spinner dolphins inhabit tropical seas around the world along with yellowfin tuna.’
    • ‘She pointed to the ocean and he looked and they saw dolphins jumping by the side of the ship.’
    • ‘When curious dolphins swim around the boat, the team launches an inflatable boat.’
    • ‘I think of trawlers catching dolphins in their nets.’
    • ‘The former group also gave rise to various endemic lines of river dolphins.’
    • ‘A dolphin leapt from the water, the drops of water sparkling and glittering.’
    • ‘The purpose of the ban as stated in the accompanying documentation is to minimise dolphin mortality.’
    • ‘She has also studied baboons in Kenya and dolphins off the coast of western Australia.’
    • ‘The villagers say the dolphin population has halved in the past few years.’
    • ‘They go to watch sperm whales spout and dive or to swim with pods of dusky dolphins.’
  • 2A bollard, pile, or buoy for mooring boats.

  • 3A structure for protecting the pier of a bridge.

  • 4

    (also dolphinfish)
    another term for mahimahi



/ˈdälfən/ /ˈdɑlfən/


Late Middle English from Old French dauphin, from Provençal dalfin, from Latin delphinus, from Greek delphin.