Dol"phin (dŏl"fĭn), 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, &
5), perh. properly, belly fish; cf. delfy`s womb, Skr.
garbha; perh. akin to E. calf. Cf. Dauphin,
Delphine.] 1. (Zool.)
(a) A cetacean of the genus Delphinus and
allied genera (esp. D. delphis); the true dolphin.
(b) The Coryphæna 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 dolphin of the ancients (D. delphis) is common
in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, and attains a length of from six
to eight feet.
2. [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.
3. (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.
4. (Gun.) In old ordnance, one of the
handles above the trunnions by which the gun was lifted.
5. (Astron.) A small constellation
between Aquila and Pegasus. See Delphinus,
Dolphin fly (Zoöl.), the black,
bean, or collier, Aphis (Aphis fable), destructive to
beans. -- Dolphin striker (Naut.),
a short vertical spar under the bowsprit.