Definition of pup in US English:



  • 1A young dog.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Among popular indigenous breeds such as the Rampur and the Mudhol hounds, the male pups are fancied, leaving only a few males to breed.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The thieves escaped with three Chinese Shar-Pei pups aged six weeks and a five month old American bulldog.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I thought of the prayer I had said when I asked God to help me get two hound pups.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Of around 20,000 greyhound pups registered here every year, about half are exported to the US, the UK and Spain.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Hester Lockyear of Beacon Bay gets a lick from the Maltese terrier pup she rescued from a roadside hawker in Transkei.’
    • ‘Some of those involved told Animal Welfare workers they had killed pups they found with the lurcher.’
    • ‘Blair was adamant about bringing a hound pup along with her.’
    • ‘Breeders who wish to ensure that pups they breed will not be registered with AKC can include a prohibition in their sales contract.’
    • ‘To get Inshy my quick growing pup her last vaccination shot from Dr. Sangeeta Vengsarkar.’
    • ‘The hound pup he had brought with him from Kettlethorpe raised his head at the stifled sobs that shook Johnny's body.’
    • ‘A dog-loving teenager is celebrating after her canine friend, Grace, was named the best pup in the county.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In fact, nobody would claim that pup - it had a mother, a street dog, and that was all.’
    hound, canine, mongrel, cur, tyke
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    1. 1.1 A young wolf, seal, rat, or other mammal.
      • ‘A young seal pup appeared from nowhere, performing an underwater ballet for our benefit.’
      • ‘Often, people rescue harbor seal pups that they think are abandoned but are actually waiting for their moms to get back from feeding.’
      • ‘Ringed seal pups do not begin to enter the water on their own until they are several days old.’
      • ‘It must be pointed out that in Antarctic fur seals, the pup rearing period occurs during the short (four months) subpolar summer.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Wolf pups develop rapidly, they must be large and accomplished enough to hunt with the pack with the onset of winter.’
      • ‘A mother harbor seal watches over her pup on Sable Island off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada.’
      • ‘Hundred s of precious wolf pups will soon be born in Yellowstone National Park, the southwest and central Idaho.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Leopard seals typically feed on penguins and the pups of other seal species but will eat ‘just about everything they come across,’ Rogers said.’
      • ‘The nets also pose a serious threat to the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, especially curious pups, which can become entangled and drown.’
      • ‘In 1987 decades of protest culminated in a ban on the clubbing of white-furred harp seal pups in Canada.’
      • ‘The female bears one litter of three to nine pups after a gestation period of 63-65 days.’
      • ‘In spring, the seals' breeding season, mother seals and their pups take refuge in agloos - little snow lairs atop the sea ice.’
      • ‘A couple of months later we went back to see the grey seal pups which were all over the islands.’
      • ‘Even as young pups, then, Weddell seals have several anatomical adaptations that enable them to avoid overheating in the sunlight.’
      • ‘Researchers suggest this has led to overcrowding on the island, resulting in increased predation of seal pups by sharks.’
      • ‘When meerkat pups begin accompanying the group, they beg food from older group members, who dig up dispersed prey items.’
      • ‘Locomotor coordination problems have also been reported for ethanol-impacted rat pups.’
      • ‘As the hunt drew to a close, images of seal pups being butchered outraged activists.’
    2. 1.2dated A cheeky or arrogant boy or young man.
      ‘you saucy young pup!’
      • ‘‘The death that is not to be mourned is if the heart had frozen over, young pup,’ he recalled his father saying.’
      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘Regular readers will know the frustration I have felt at being beaten by this arrogant young pup on previous occasions.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Peter put away his pipe then rubbed his hands together, trying to strike up a conversation with the young pup.’


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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As no mother-pup pairs were observed, these ledges are molting but not pupping ledges.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Loss of southern pupping areas due to inadequate or highly variable ice conditions may reduce these species as polar bear prey.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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).’
    • ‘This, it is hoped, will succeed in revealing migratory patterns, aggregating sites and pupping grounds.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘The places where sea-ice cover tends to be reduced the most are where the big pupping areas are,’ Friedlaender said.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At remote Point Bennett on San Miguel, seals and sea lions breed and pup in spectacular numbers.’


  • in pup

    • (of a female dog) pregnant.

      • ‘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.’
  • sell someone a pup

    • informal Swindle someone (or be swindled), especially by selling (or buying) something worthless.

      • ‘The people of New Zealand have been sold a pup by the Prime Minister of New Zealand.’
      • ‘‘If we had put them to the membership, they would have thought they had been sold a pup,’ he said.’
      • ‘Those who joined up because they were in favour of Respect, Equality, Socialism, Peace, Environment, Community, and Trades Unionism have been sold a pup.’
      • ‘He spotted the ignorance of the conservatives in Middle Eastern affairs - and sold them a pup.’
      • ‘The talk is that Ford was sold a pup when it bought the British brands - an accusation Dover dismisses.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We have had no official word but we are being told that the Israelis are saying they have been sold a pup.’
      • ‘It is a difficult process, but it is possible to win compensation if you were sold a pup.’
      • ‘The Minister's chief executive has sold him a pup, and he has bought it.’
      • ‘The first is that Helen Clark and Pete Hodgson sold New Zealand a pup.’
      swindle, defraud, cheat, fleece, exploit
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Late 16th century (in the sense ‘arrogant young man’): back-formation from puppy, interpreted as a diminutive.