from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of various dolphins or other toothed whales, such as the orca.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A cetacean of the family Delphinidæ, subfamily Delphininæ, and genus Phocæna or Orca, etc.; some large dolphin-like or porpoise-like cetacean, of predatory and carnivorous habits.
  • noun A cetacean of the family Delphinidæ and subfamily Globicephalinæ; a caaing- or pilot-whale; a blackfish or cowfish. In superficial characters it resembles the preceding, and grows to even larger size, but is timid and inoffensive. See cut under Globicephalus.
  • noun [capitalized] [NL.] A genus of grampuses, containing such as G. griseus. They are related to the caaing-whales (Globicephalus), and not specially to the pre-daceous grampuses (Orca), have no teeth in the upper jaw and few in the lower, and 68 vertebræ). There are several species.
  • noun The dobson or hellgrammite: more fully called water-grampus.
  • noun A pursy, puffy fellow; an obese person.
  • noun The whip-tailed scorpion, Thelyphonus giganteus. Also called mule-killer, and in the West Indies vinaigrier, or vinegar-maker, from its acid secretion. LFlorida, U. S.]
  • noun The tongs with which the blooms are handled in a bloomery.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) A toothed delphinoid cetacean, of the genus Grampus, esp. G. griseus of Europe and America, which is valued for its oil. It grows to be fifteen to twenty feet long; its color is gray with white streaks. Called also cowfish. The California grampus is G. Stearnsii.
  • noun U.S. A kind of tongs used in a bloomery.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The killer whale or orca
  • noun A type of gray dolphin-like creature, Grampus griseus, with a blunt nose

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun predatory black-and-white toothed whale with large dorsal fin; common in cold seas
  • noun slaty-grey blunt-nosed dolphin common in northern seas


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Alteration (perhaps influenced by grand) of Middle English graspeis, from Old French craspois, graspeis, from Medieval Latin crassus piscis, craspiscis : Latin crassus, fat + Latin piscis, fish.]


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word grampus.


  • Jan held on and breathed through his nose, snorting like a grampus.


  • She had got the start, and kept it, but at the expense, for the time, of her power of utterance; for when she came in presence of the Doctor, she stood blowing like a grampus, her loose toy flying back from her face, making the most violent effort to speak, but without the power of uttering a single intelligible word.

    The Surgeon's Daughter

  • It shares with the southern parks abundant marine life: Kamchatka crab Paralithodes camtschatica, sea otter (900 animals), sea lion Eumetopias jubatus (EN, 800 breeding animals), Kuril seal Phoca vitulina stejnegeri (500), spotted P. largha and ringed seals P. hispida ochotensis, Risso's dolphin grampus griseus, narwhal Monodon monoceros and walrus Odobenus rosmarus divergens.

    Volcanoes of Kamchatka, Russian Federation

  • Here they waited some little time while the marriage party enrolled themselves; and meanwhile the wheezy little pew – opener — partly in consequence of her infirmity, and partly that the marriage party might not forget her — went about the building coughing like a grampus.

    Dombey and Son

  • The Governor will blow like an old grampus, I know he will, — well, we must stop till he gets his wind again.

    The History of Pendennis

  • The grampus, or sea-wolf, was another article of food which bears testimony to the coarse palate of the early Englishman, and at the same time may afford a clue to the partiality for disguising condiments and spices.

    Old Cookery Books and Ancient Cuisine

  • However, the fact remained that the mention of her name conjured up assorted visions-starting with Jamie kissing her ardently in an alcove at Castle Leoch, and ending with him fumbling up her nightgown in the darkness of their marriage bed, hands warm and eager on her thighs-that made me snort like a grampus and feel the blood throb hotly in my temples.

    A Breath of Snow and Ashes

  • Brianna was incandescent, and breathing like a grampus.

    A Breath of Snow and Ashes

  • He breathed like a grampus for a bit, though, and finally, his complexion began to fade back to something like normal.

    A Breath of Snow and Ashes

  • He was in poor condition and puffed like a grampus, and he seemed to have no sort of head for heights.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "Twice that afternoon Stephen was called on deck, once to see a troop of grampuses, and once to be shown a startling change in the sea..."

    --Patrick O'Brian, The Thirteen Gun Salute, 143

    March 4, 2008

  • Doesn't it sound like he's referring to a horde of old guys with grandchildren?


    March 4, 2008

  • Yes, a horde causing a rumpus, I think.

    March 4, 2008