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dauphin

[daw-fin; French doh-fan]
noun, plural dau·phins [daw-finz; French doh-fan] /ˈdɔ fɪnz; French doʊˈfɛ̃/.
  1. the eldest son of a king of France, used as a title from 1349 to 1830.
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Origin of dauphin

1475–85; < French; Middle French dalphin, after Dauphiné, from an agreement to thus honor the province after its cession to France
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for dauphin

dauphin

noun
  1. (1349–1830) the title of the direct heir to the French throne; the eldest son of the king of France
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Word Origin

C15: from Old French: originally a family name; adopted as a title by the Counts of Vienne and later by the French crown princes
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 dauphin

n.

"eldest son of the king of France" (title in use from 1349-1830), early 15c., from Middle French dauphin, literally "dolphin" (see dolphin).

Originally the title attached to "the Dauphin of Viennois," whose province (in the French Alps north of Provence) came to be known as Dauphiné. Three dolphins were on the coat of arms of the lords of Viennois, first worn by Guido IV (d.1142). It is said originally to have been a personal name among the lords of Viennois. Humbert III, the last lord of Dauphiné, ceded the province to Philip of Valois in 1349, on condition that the title be perpetuated by the eldest son of the king of France. The French fem. form is dauphine.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper