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[hwelp, welp] /ʰwɛlp, wɛlp/
the young of the dog, or of the wolf, bear, lion, tiger, seal, etc.
a youth, especially an impudent or despised one.
  1. any of a series of longitudinal projections or ridges on the barrel of a capstan, windlass, etc.
  2. any of the teeth of a sprocket wheel.
verb (used with or without object)
(of a female dog, lion, etc.) to give birth to (young).
Origin of whelp
before 900; (noun) Middle English; Old English hwelp (cognate with German Welf); (v.) Middle English whelpen, derivative of the noun
Related forms
whelpless, adjective
unwhelped, adjective
2. brat, urchin, whippersnapper. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for whelped
Historical Examples
  • Curs was unfortunate; the evil three were whelped of a mighty strain.

    Once Aboard The Lugger Arthur Stuart-Menteth Hutchinson
  • Out, you diminutive pint-pot, whelped of an overgrown reckoning!

    Kenilworth Sir Walter Scott
  • He never could do anything like a man since the day he was whelped.

    The Romance of the Coast

    James Runciman
  • He was whelped and raised in the mountains on one of the sugar-estates, and is known to be of the best pedigree.

  • The large, wolf-like form, the bushy tail—why there could be no duplicate of this ever whelped at a Zulu kraal, that was certain.

    A Frontier Mystery Bertram Mitford
  • There was no sign that adult female No. 11 whelped or attempted to locate or construct a den.

British Dictionary definitions for whelped


a young offspring of certain animals, esp of a wolf or dog
(derogatory) a young man or youth
(jocular) a young child
(nautical) any of the ridges, parallel to the axis, on the drum of a capstan to keep a rope, cable, or chain from slipping
(of an animal or, disparagingly, a woman) to give birth to (young)
Word Origin
Old English hwelp(a); related to Old High German hwelf, Old Norse hvelpr, Danish hvalp
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 whelped



Old English hwelp "whelp, young of the dog," from a Germanic root related to Old Saxon hwelp, Old Norse hvelpr, Dutch welp, German hwelf; of unknown origin. Now largely displaced by puppy. Also applied to wild animals. Sense of "scamp" first recorded early 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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