• synonyms

sea lion

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  1. any of several large eared seals, as Eumetopias jubatus (Steller's sea lion), of the northern Pacific, and Zalophus californicus (California sea lion), of the Pacific coast of North America.
  2. Heraldry. a monster having the forepart of a lion, webbed forepaws, and the dorsal fin and tail of a fish.

Origin of sea lion

First recorded in 1595–1605
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sea-lion

Historical Examples

  • Penaumbe went down to the sea-shore, and saw a sea-lion, as Panaumbe had done.

    Aino Folk-Tales

    Basil Hall Chamberlain

  • The sea-lion was very glad to have the lice picked out of its head.

    Aino Folk-Tales

    Basil Hall Chamberlain

  • They speared a sea-lion, which, however, swam off with the spear sticking in its body.

    Aino Folk-Tales

    Basil Hall Chamberlain

  • The sea-lion belongs to the seal family and is the largest of its species.

    Foot-prints of Travel

    Maturin M. Ballou

  • "A sea-lion's cry is deeper and not so loud," his friend replied.

British Dictionary definitions for sea-lion

sea lion

  1. any of various large eared seals, such as Zalophus californianus (Californian sea lion), of the N Pacific, often used as a performing animal
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for sea-lion


c.1600, "kind of lobster," from sea + lion. Later the name of a fabulous animal (in heraldry, etc.), 1660s. Applied from 1690s to various species of large eared seals. As code name for the planned German invasion of Britain, it translates German Seelöwe, announced by Hitler July 1940, scrubbed October 1940.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper