Definition of penguin in English:



  • A large flightless seabird of the southern hemisphere, with black upper parts and white underparts and wings developed into flippers for swimming under water.

    Family Spheniscidae: six genera and several species

    • ‘The biggest fight we observed was between a male fur seal and a male penguin.’
    • ‘The waters belong to the fish and whales, the squirrels and fox, the llama and elephant, the penguin and robin.’
    • ‘Urban foxes were unwelcome visitors during the year and were responsible for killing a penguin and some geese.’
    • ‘Just as we surfaced, two penguins torpedoed by, leaping out of the water and bouncing, like so many skipping stones.’
    • ‘I don't think that cold water necessarily is always associated with penguins.’
    • ‘The lure of eight species of penguins and more than 50 other seabird species is enormous.’
    • ‘It's obvious that global warming has an impact on the reproduction of the penguins.’
    • ‘They swam right up to the glass of the tank and flapped their little penguin wings.’
    • ‘The mating game we were witnessing in the penguin colony was gentle and benign by comparison.’
    • ‘You can drive in five minutes from the centre of town to the viewing place for the blue penguins, or allow more time and walk there.’
    • ‘A viewing camera allows me to see the penguins not just marching, but swimming under water.’
    • ‘Some penguins waddle along shorelines and ice, whereas others hop from rock to rock.’
    • ‘Green sea turtles rest on the shore and penguins are waddling off for a swim.’
    • ‘The emperor penguin is the largest penguin species and also one of the few found in Antarctica.’
    • ‘It apparently shows him swimming with whales and sliding with penguins.’
    • ‘This zoo was the first in the world to exhibit penguins and it now has Europe's largest penguin pool.’
    • ‘In more recent decades, the penguins have been harmed by increased oil pollution.’
    • ‘I hear the great whites like seals, or anything that resembles a penguin or walrus.’
    • ‘The island is only a quarter of a square mile in size, but it is teeming with penguins and other sea birds.’
    • ‘Harnessed up and ready to dive, the fat penguin looks as though it has its own mini scuba tank.’


Late 16th century (originally denoting the great auk): possibly of Welsh origin, from pen gwyn ‘white head’.