Definition of porpoise in English:

porpoise

Pronunciation /ˈpɔːpɔɪs//ˈpɔːpəs/

noun

  • A small toothed whale with a low triangular dorsal fin and a blunt rounded snout.

    • ‘Irish waters are at least seasonally home to an impressive 24 species, ranging from the tiny harbour porpoise to the giant blue whales.’
    • ‘Complete isolation and frequent sightings of porpoises and minke whales set the scene.’
    • ‘There are over 80 species of cetaceans, marine mammals such as porpoises, dolphins and whales, but the Norwegians have traditionally hunted minke.’
    • ‘Dolphins and porpoises are examples of odontocetes, as are belugas, narwhals, killer whales, sperm whales, and beaked whales.’
    • ‘Also, looking back over a decade of stranding records from Britain, the researchers found seven dolphins and porpoises and one beaked whale with puzzling gas bubbles.’
    • ‘Pingers (acoustic deterrents that warn or scare dolphins, porpoises, and whales away from fishing nets) are mandatory in other areas.’
    • ‘Dolphins, porpoises and even minke whales have all been sighted, while the grey seal colony is always entertaining.’
    • ‘The first day we saw nothing but a harbour porpoise feeding in the current washing around Black Head, close to the end of the Lizard Peninsula.’
    • ‘Cetaceans also are hunted and eaten, the most common being porpoises, killer whales, and pilot whales.’
    • ‘More than 300,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises - or cetaceans - are estimated to die every year from entanglement in fishing gear, more than from any other cause.’
    • ‘While the cod, pollack and haddock may have all but disappeared, you stand a good chance of spotting porpoises, minke whales and even the odd beluga.’
    • ‘More and more, researchers are finding out just how important sound is to cetaceans like dolphins, porpoises and whales.’
    • ‘The environmental group claims the deaths off the British coastline are among a worldwide toll of 300,000 cetaceans (dolphins, porpoises and whales) worldwide every year.’
    • ‘You may spot seals and otters and, if you're lucky, porpoises and killer whales on their way from the Atlantic and to the Irish Sea.’
    • ‘The biodiversity report lists 25 species at risk, including otters, brown hares, red squirrels, pipistrelle bats, porpoises, six varieties of dolphin and 13 types of whale.’
    • ‘The crows nest has become an ideal lookout post for sighting dolphins, whales, porpoises, seabirds and turtles.’
    • ‘Whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals and sea lions receive protection in the U.S. under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.’
    • ‘The shores are playgrounds for otters and seals while porpoises and killer whales sweep past on their way between the Atlantic and the Irish Sea.’
    • ‘Fishery managers believe that a few low-decibel pings in the ocean, usually inaudible 300 meters away, have to be better than killing porpoises in Maine or sperm whales in California.’
    • ‘The Cetacea are, of course, best known from their modern representatives, the porpoises, dolphins and whales.’

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • Move through the water like a porpoise, alternately rising above it and submerging.

    ‘the boat began to porpoise badly’
    • ‘Several adelies are porpoising between the new islands and the ice.’
    • ‘He was out with a client who said that he had not seen so many salmon anywhere, and Gary witnessed vast amounts fish head-and-tailing, porpoising their way up-river half-an-hour after high tide.’
    • ‘Then potential menace turned to pure joy as two more orcas joined the first and together they porpoised toward the setting sun.’
    • ‘Although energetically advantageous when swimming near the water surface, both wave-riding and porpoising have been described for only a limited number of marine mammal species moving at high speeds.’
    • ‘Sea lions gain speed by porpoising, leaping clear of the water and then gliding near the water's surface to minimize resistance.’
    • ‘Finally, as the relative thrust decreases, the gains due to porpoising also decrease.’
    • ‘This fish stripped virtually all the line from the reel and resulted in a fair bit of time to retrieve and then it was off again porpoising across the water - a magnificent sight.’
    • ‘One way around this limitation would have been to adopt a swimming style known as porpoising.’
    • ‘Now we're racing, gliding past the San Francisco waterfront with a sea lion porpoising alongside.’
    • ‘But down by the water's edge porpoising adelie penguins are jumping ashore clean, wet and plump from the icy Southern Ocean.’
    • ‘As we porpoise back to shore, I know that I can go deeper.’
    • ‘Since that publication several studies documented porpoising behavior at high speeds.’
    • ‘Interrupted forms of locomotion, including wave-riding and porpoising when near the water surface or gliding when descending on a dive, enables marine mammals to mitigate some of these costs.’
    • ‘California sea lions porpoised through the waves to circle our boats.’
    • ‘The approach to James Ross is through the Antarctic Sound, a beautiful stretch of water teeming with wildlife - the ship was joined by hundreds of penguins porpoising along, as well as humpback whales and countless seabirds.’
    • ‘Swimming often includes porpoising (repeatedly breaking the water's surface with enough momentum to lift the bird into the air for about one meter.)’
    • ‘I shot off reel after reel of film on the oceanic birds following the ship, shared in the watch on the depth finder, watched whales in the distance and penguins porpoising through the water like flying fish.’
    • ‘The porpoising type of rolling that is so common seemed to be undertaken by tench that were merely working their way along their patrol route.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French porpois, based on Latin porcus ‘pig’ + piscis ‘fish’, rendering earlier porcus marinus ‘sea hog’.

Pronunciation

porpoise

/ˈpɔːpɔɪs//ˈpɔːpəs/