Definition of pup in English:


nounPlural pups

  • 1A young dog.

    • ‘A dog-loving teenager is celebrating after her canine friend, Grace, was named the best pup in the county.’
    • ‘To get Inshy my quick growing pup her last vaccination shot from Dr. Sangeeta Vengsarkar.’
    • ‘He was taken into the care of the National Canine Defence League but the little pup was left so traumatised by the incident he could not be kept with other dogs and had to stay in a temporary foster home.’
    • ‘The hound pup he had brought with him from Kettlethorpe raised his head at the stifled sobs that shook Johnny's body.’
    • ‘Blair was adamant about bringing a hound pup along with her.’
    • ‘No pups have been handed in to the Dog Kennels so far this Christmas after a frantic appeal was issued to stop them being abandoned after being given as presents.’
    • ‘The thieves escaped with three Chinese Shar-Pei pups aged six weeks and a five month old American bulldog.’
    • ‘Hester Lockyear of Beacon Bay gets a lick from the Maltese terrier pup she rescued from a roadside hawker in Transkei.’
    • ‘Kate, who owns Parker, the youngest of the pups, has made the same mistake I made with Poppy when she was little - namely not understanding how much food you have to give them.’
    • ‘I thought of the prayer I had said when I asked God to help me get two hound pups.’
    • ‘The eight-week-old pups were discovered huddled in a tiny plastic crate on the doorstep of Manchester Dogs' Home, with just a small white fleece to shield them from the freezing early-morning cold.’
    • ‘The first time wild dog puppies delivered in captivity in the Park, was in 2001 January, when the mother delivered four pups.’
    • ‘You should take each pup you are considering purchasing away from its litter to a different area for observation.’
    • ‘In fact, nobody would claim that pup - it had a mother, a street dog, and that was all.’
    • ‘Breeders who wish to ensure that pups they breed will not be registered with AKC can include a prohibition in their sales contract.’
    • ‘Johnny awoke to those words the next morning and opened his eyes to see Tom standing over him, already dressed and dangerous-looking, prodding the hound pup with the toe of his boot.’
    • ‘The charity is short of volunteer puppy walkers, who care for and educate guide dog pups from six weeks of age for a period of 12 months, when they begin their specialised guide dog training at centres around the country.’
    • ‘Of around 20,000 greyhound pups registered here every year, about half are exported to the US, the UK and Spain.’
    • ‘Some of those involved told Animal Welfare workers they had killed pups they found with the lurcher.’
    • ‘Among popular indigenous breeds such as the Rampur and the Mudhol hounds, the male pups are fancied, leaving only a few males to breed.’
    hound, canine, mongrel, cur, tyke
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A young wolf, seal, rat, or other mammal.
      • ‘A mother harbor seal watches over her pup on Sable Island off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada.’
      • ‘Even as young pups, then, Weddell seals have several anatomical adaptations that enable them to avoid overheating in the sunlight.’
      • ‘Wolf pups develop rapidly, they must be large and accomplished enough to hunt with the pack with the onset of winter.’
      • ‘The female bears one litter of three to nine pups after a gestation period of 63-65 days.’
      • ‘The nets also pose a serious threat to the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, especially curious pups, which can become entangled and drown.’
      • ‘A couple of months later we went back to see the grey seal pups which were all over the islands.’
      • ‘When meerkat pups begin accompanying the group, they beg food from older group members, who dig up dispersed prey items.’
      • ‘Leopard seals typically feed on penguins and the pups of other seal species but will eat ‘just about everything they come across,’ Rogers said.’
      • ‘Often, people rescue harbor seal pups that they think are abandoned but are actually waiting for their moms to get back from feeding.’
      • ‘Locomotor coordination problems have also been reported for ethanol-impacted rat pups.’
      • ‘It must be pointed out that in Antarctic fur seals, the pup rearing period occurs during the short (four months) subpolar summer.’
      • ‘A young seal pup appeared from nowhere, performing an underwater ballet for our benefit.’
      • ‘Hundred s of precious wolf pups will soon be born in Yellowstone National Park, the southwest and central Idaho.’
      • ‘In spring, the seals' breeding season, mother seals and their pups take refuge in agloos - little snow lairs atop the sea ice.’
      • ‘The ability to place young pups as well as older wolves in the wild will inject the population with new genes and increase the numbers of wild wolves.’
      • ‘In 1987 decades of protest culminated in a ban on the clubbing of white-furred harp seal pups in Canada.’
      • ‘Ringed seal pups do not begin to enter the water on their own until they are several days old.’
      • ‘Researchers suggest this has led to overcrowding on the island, resulting in increased predation of seal pups by sharks.’
      • ‘As the hunt drew to a close, images of seal pups being butchered outraged activists.’
      • ‘The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently reported that a record 55 red wolf pups have been born in 11 litters in North Carolina this spring.’
    2. 1.2dated A cheeky or arrogant boy or young man.
      ‘you saucy young pup!’
      • ‘The young pup railed against the ‘purist’ who apparently believe that profit is a dirty word and felt that making money somehow corrupted their ‘craft’.’
      • ‘He began as an exuberant young pup setting teen hearts aflutter with his homely good looks.’
      • ‘Then a young pup of a deputy sports editor ordered me to leave the comfort of my sofa and actually go to Muirfield to experience the golf in the raw.’
      • ‘‘The death that is not to be mourned is if the heart had frozen over, young pup,’ he recalled his father saying.’
      • ‘Regular readers will know the frustration I have felt at being beaten by this arrogant young pup on previous occasions.’
      • ‘Peter put away his pipe then rubbed his hands together, trying to strike up a conversation with the young pup.’

verbpups, pupped, pupping

[no object]
  • (of bitches and certain other female animals) give birth to young.

    ‘our Doberman just pupped’
    ‘pupping females’
    • ‘We have assumed that a reduction in sea ice area is largely detrimental to icebreeding seals but it is conceivable that, similar to their more temperate relatives, they may move to landbased haul-outs, moulting, and pupping areas.’
    • ‘As no mother-pup pairs were observed, these ledges are molting but not pupping ledges.’
    • ‘Grey nurse sharks grow relatively slowly and mature at between four and six, though the precise timing of mating and pupping in Australian waters remains unknown.’
    • ‘Could these be the same birds that every year turn up hundreds of miles away along the desert coast just in time for the sea lion pupping season?’
    • ‘The lethal infection is passed on through the inhalation of the virus from another seal, close contact, through bodily fluids like mucus, or biting and scratching during pupping.’
    • ‘Both ice types likely represent areas where most seal pupping occurred in spring for each region.’
    • ‘Kaneohe Bay, on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, is a pupping ground for the scalloped hammerhead as well as a favorite haunt of the sandbar shark, a typical, blunt-headed reef shark.’
    • ‘This, it is hoped, will succeed in revealing migratory patterns, aggregating sites and pupping grounds.’
    • ‘At remote Point Bennett on San Miguel, seals and sea lions breed and pup in spectacular numbers.’
    • ‘‘The places where sea-ice cover tends to be reduced the most are where the big pupping areas are,’ Friedlaender said.’
    • ‘Breeding and pupping sea otters generally occur from Point of Arches to the south, with a large concentration of sea otters near Cape Alava (Jameson, pers comm).’
    • ‘The colony of 3,000 seals is pupping now: weaning their fluffy young, scrapping with their sisters and chasing off marauding bulls keen to get them pregnant again.’
    • ‘Loss of southern pupping areas due to inadequate or highly variable ice conditions may reduce these species as polar bear prey.’
    • ‘Bearded seals and walrus, feed in relatively shallow waters and rely on benthic prey associated with continental shelf areas and rely on annual sea ice for pupping.’
    • ‘The peak of pupping by ringed seals along the coast of southeastern Baffin Island occurs in early April, though obviously some pups are born earlier or later.’


  • in pup

    • (of a bitch) pregnant.

      ‘a bitch in pup, due to whelp soon’
      • ‘In the case of a bitch she may turn out to be in pup and you will find yourself saddled with rather more dogs than you can manage.’
      • ‘Now that the reality of Millie being in pup has sunk in, we have been considering the possible combinations and permutations of potential litters.’
  • the night's (only) a pup

    • informal It is still early.

      ‘the night's only a pup, you have a few hours before you have to make any decisions’
      • ‘The night is only a pup; we have lots more time for drinking.’
      • ‘"Come on in and we'll have supper a little later; the night's only a pup yet," added Jack.’
      • ‘"The night's only a pup, Commodore," Bindle told him.’
      • ‘From the gallery a man called, 'The night's a pup, brother. Come on over.'’
      • ‘It's only forty miles and the night is a pup.’
  • sell someone a pup

    • informal Swindle someone by selling them something worthless.

      ‘people don't want to go into these places because they're afraid they'll be sold a pup’
      • ‘The Minister's chief executive has sold him a pup, and he has bought it.’
      • ‘The people of New Zealand have been sold a pup by the Prime Minister of New Zealand.’
      • ‘The talk is that Ford was sold a pup when it bought the British brands - an accusation Dover dismisses.’
      • ‘Those who joined up because they were in favour of Respect, Equality, Socialism, Peace, Environment, Community, and Trades Unionism have been sold a pup.’
      • ‘The first is that Helen Clark and Pete Hodgson sold New Zealand a pup.’
      • ‘As inept as Rangers were inspired, with one win now in nine league games, Thompson has been sold a pup, one that only whimpered briefly before submission against the Ibrox opponents.’
      • ‘He spotted the ignorance of the conservatives in Middle Eastern affairs - and sold them a pup.’
      • ‘We have had no official word but we are being told that the Israelis are saying they have been sold a pup.’
      • ‘‘If we had put them to the membership, they would have thought they had been sold a pup,’ he said.’
      • ‘It is a difficult process, but it is possible to win compensation if you were sold a pup.’
      swindle, defraud, cheat, fleece, exploit
      View synonyms


Late 16th century (in the sense ‘arrogant young man’): back-formation from puppy, interpreted as a diminutive.