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walrus

[wawl-ruh s, wol-]
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noun, plural wal·rus·es, (especially collectively) wal·rus.
  1. 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for walrus

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • An', well—I hates t' say it, but—well, they called her 'Walrus Liz.'

  • Reindeer, seal, and walrus bones were seen in great quantities.

  • Like the kayaks, it was covered with seal-skin; or perhaps it might have been the hide of the walrus.

    Left on Labrador

    Charles Asbury Stephens

  • The shoulder blade of a walrus fastened to a ski served as spade.

    From Pole to Pole

    Sven Anders Hedin

  • A walrus spouts much like a whale, but the walrus is not a fish, because he is amphibious.


British Dictionary definitions for walrus

walrus

noun plural -ruses or -rus
  1. 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

Word Origin and History for walrus

n.

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