• WordNet 3.6
    • n porpoise any of several small gregarious cetacean mammals having a blunt snout and many teeth
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Next to man, the porpoise is the most intelligent creature on earth
    • Porpoise (Zoöl) A true dolphin (Delphinus); -- often so called by sailors.
    • Porpoise (Zoöl) Any small cetacean of the genus Phocæna, especially Phocæna communis, or Phocæna phocæna, of Europe, and the closely allied American species (Phocæna Americana). The color is dusky or blackish above, paler beneath. They are closely allied to the dolphins, but have a shorter snout. Called also harbor porpoise herring hag puffing pig, and snuffer.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Dall's porpoise never sleeps, elephants sleep two hours a day, horses nap standing up, and Sitatunga antelopes can sleep submerged
    • n porpoise A small toothed cetacean of the family Delphinidæ and subfamily Delphiminæ, and especially of the genus Phoeæna, of which there are several species, the best-known being P. communis, which attains a length of about 5 feet and has a blunt head not produced into a long beak, and a thick body tapering toward the tail. It is common in the North Atlantic, and usually goes in herds or shoals. It feeds almost entirely on fish. A fine oil is prepared from its blubber, and the skin is made into leather; the flesh is eatable. Several genera and numerous species of small cetaceans share the name porpoise, among them the dolphin. See Delphinus, Lagenorhynchus, and Tursiops.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The average healthy porpoise lives 30 years.
    • n Porpoise por′pus a genus of Cetecea in the family Delphinidæ, 4 to 8 feet long, gregarious, affording oil and leather—anciently Por′pess.
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. porpeys, OF. porpeis, literally, hog fish, from L. porcus, swine + piscis, fish. See Pork, and Fish
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. porpeis—L. porcus, a hog, piscis, a fish.


In literature:

We may begin by again taking the case of the whales and porpoises.
"Darwin, and After Darwin (Vol. 1 and 3, of 3)" by George John Romanes
Porpoises played around the bows of the steamer, and gulls shrieked as they swooped above her.
"A Voyage with Captain Dynamite" by Charles Edward Rich
A pretty gull thee be'st, to swallow yon black porpoise.
"Traditions of Lancashire, Volume 2 (of 2)" by John Roby
Jack Cockrell's sigh of relief sounded like a porpoise coming up for air.
"Blackbeard: Buccaneer" by Ralph D. Paine
Why I sha'n't breathe straight again for a month, and I don't want to go in on the dear child puffing like a crazy porpoise.
"Six Girls" by Fannie Belle Irving
Here, unless he mend his caution, I fear he will never learn to play the porpoise at the Zoo.
"Chimney-Pot Papers" by Charles S. Brooks
A porpoise or small whale which frequents the river St. Lawrence.
"The Sailor's Word-Book" by William Henry Smyth
I always get tortoises and porpoises mixed.
"Left Guard Gilbert" by Ralph Henry Barbour
He at first took it to be that of a shark, but found later it belonged to a harmless porpoise.
"Some Naval Yarns" by Mordaunt Hall
Around us a quantity of porpoises were either splashing in the midst of the waves or floating like buoys upon the surface.
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 61, No. 380, June, 1847" by Various

In poetry:

I am longing to dwell by the sea,
And dip in the surf every day,
And--height of subaqueous glee--
With the sharks and the porpoises play.
"By The Sea" by Hattie Howard
She lifted her hull like a breasting gull
Where the rolling valleys be,
And dipped where the shining porpoises
Put ploughshares through the sea.
"The Nancy's Pride" by Bliss William Carman
Soon I crept forth. Her long, lee rail was sweeping.
A homing ship drove by with hurrying feet,
A school of porpoises all 'round her leaping,
While stars dipped low, her dizzied spars to greet.
"Stowaway" by Bill Adams
For now, in our trim boats of Noroway deal,
We must dance on the waves, with the porpoise and seal
The breeze it shall pipe, so it pipe not too high,
And the gull be our songstress whene'er she flits by.
"Song of the Zetland Fisherman" by Sir Walter Scott
I seen her once for just a jiff; it was a misty day,
Wi' sea birds mewin' i' the rain an' porpoises at play;
I was a-coilin' up a rope above the col' grey sea,
When loud I heard the boatswain shout, "There goes Thermopylae!"
"There Goes Thermopylae" by Bill Adams
and Venus among the fishes skips and is a she-dolphin
she is the gay, delighted porpoise sporting with love and the sea
she is the female tunny-fish, round and happy among the males
and dense with happy blood, dark rainbow bliss in the sea.
"Whales Weep Not!" by D H Lawrence

In news:

The Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce Business Card Exchange will be held on Thursday, Aug 16 at 6 pm at Porpoise Point, 4561 Red Fish Road in Matlacha.
More on Dall 's porpoises (Phocoenoides dalli).
Plan aimed toward saving porpoises.
They imagine themselves a gazelle or a porpoise.
Porpoises and bombs left by Adolf Hitler's forces six decades ago are adding millions of dollars to costs for wind-turbine developers in waters off Germany, delaying the nation's shift from nuclear energy.
Harbour porpoise rescued near Victoria.
Theodore, the harbour porpoise was rescued off Esquimalt.
An injured porpoise is cared for by intern Kim Clark at the Vancouver Aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre in Vancouver.
According to the Chronicle, marine biologists have seen an alarming rise in what they're calling "porpicide": dolphins brutally killing porpoises , presumably to defend territory.
Porpoise left by tsunami in rice paddy back to sea.
Sighting a school of porpoises swimming about 100 yards off shore.
Porpoise left by tsunami in rice paddy back to sea.
Whales, Porpoises Trump Earthquake Questions at Nuclear Plant.
Expedition to count number of dwindling Chinese porpoises.
Estimates suggest the Yangtze finless porpoise could become extinct within 15 years if major steps aren't taken to address its plight.

In science:

For practical porpoises we require a simplified version of (4).
Classical equivalents for quantum eigenfunctions in energy representation for simple hamiltonian systems