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[wawl-ruh s, wol-] /ˈwɔl rəs, ˈwɒl-/
noun, plural walruses (especially collectively) walrus.
a large marine mammal, Odobenus nosmarus, of arctic seas, related to the seals, and having flippers, a pair of large tusks, and a tough, wrinkled skin.
Origin of walrus
1645-55; < Dutch: literally, whale horse; cognate with German Walross, Danish hvalros; compare Old English horshwæl horse-whale Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for walrus
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Whatever explanation be attempted of this apparition, the ordinary resource of seal or walrus will not avail here.

  • They was ashore nigh on a week, and us standing off and on in the old walrus.

    Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The general drift was eastward, but the walrus pans drifted slightly faster than the main pack.

    My Attainment of the Pole Frederick A. Cook
  • Nevertheless, the water is the proper element of the walrus.

    Fast in the Ice R.M. Ballantyne
  • The first shot wounded the walrus so badly that he could move away but slowly.

  • The walrus may be said to be something like a bullock and a whale, and it grows to the size of an ox.

    Peter the Whaler W.H.G. Kingston
  • Five walrus were snorting and barking in a hole which they had broken in the ice.

    Fast in the Ice R.M. Ballantyne
  • His backbone has no more strength than a piece of walrus line.

    The Giant of the North R.M. Ballantyne
  • I will now give a description of the methods of hunting seals and walrus during the summer.

    The Central Eskimo Franz Boas
British Dictionary definitions for walrus


/ˈwɔːlrəs; ˈwɒl-/
noun (pl) -ruses, -rus
a pinniped mammal, Odobenus rosmarus, of northern seas, having a tough thick skin, upper canine teeth enlarged as tusks, and coarse whiskers and feeding mainly on shellfish: family Odobenidae
Word Origin
C17: probably from Dutch, from Scandinavian; compare Old Norse hrosshvalr (literally: horse whale) and Old English horschwæl; see horse, whale
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
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Word Origin and History for walrus

1650s, from Dutch walrus, which was probably a folk-etymology alteration (by influence of Dutch walvis "whale" and ros "horse") of a Scandinavian word, such as Old Norse rosmhvalr "walrus," hrosshvalr "a kind of whale," or rostungr "walrus." Old English had horschwæl, and later morse, from Lapp morsa or Finnish mursu, which ultimately might be the source, much garbled, of the first element in Old Norse rosmhvalr.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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