from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Any of several gregarious toothed whales of the genus Phocaena and related genera, of oceanic waters, characteristically having a blunt snout and a triangular dorsal fin. Also called sea hog.
- n. Any of several related aquatic mammals, such as the dolphin.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A small cetacean of the family Phocoenidae, related to whales and dolphins.
- n. Any small dolphin.
- v. Said of an aircraft: to make a series of plunges when taking off or landing.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. Any small cetacean of the genus Phocæna, especially Phocæna communis, or Phocæna phocæna, of Europe, and the closely allied American species (Phocæna Americana). The color is dusky or blackish above, paler beneath. They are closely allied to the dolphins, but have a shorter snout. Called also harbor porpoise, herring hag, puffing pig, and snuffer.
- n. A true dolphin (Delphinus); -- often so called by sailors.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A small toothed cetacean of the family Delphinidæ and subfamily Delphiminæ, and especially of the genus Phoeæna, of which there are several species, the best-known being P. communis, which attains a length of about 5 feet and has a blunt head not produced into a long beak, and a thick body tapering toward the tail.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. any of several small gregarious cetacean mammals having a blunt snout and many teeth
Many people are of opinion that the porpoise is a variety of the dolphin.
A porpoise is a vertical oscillation where you are just a step behind the aircraft and can't physically keep up with the machine; each control movement only serves to exaggerate the problem.
The dolphin is so uniformly miscalled porpoise, on the west coast and everywhere else, that the creature will soon come to think that it really is a porpoise.
"This," exclaimed he, "if I mistake not, augurs well; the porpoise is a fat, well-conditioned fish, a burgomaster among fishes; his looks betoken ease, plenty, and prosperity; I greatly admire this round fat fish, and doubt not but this is a happy omen of the success of our undertaking."
The porpoise is a fish five or six feet in length, weighing from one hundred and fifty to three hundred pounds.
What Nairne calls a porpoise, is really the beluga, a small white whale.
So-called porpoise leather is made of the skin of the white whale.
The porpoise is the true dolphin, the sailor's dolphin being a fish with vertical tail, scales and gills.
Well, anyway, it's a porpoise, and a porpoise is a kind of shark, isn't it?
The porpoise is the kitten of the sea; he never has a serious thought, he cares for nothing but fun and play.