[gram-puh s]

noun, plural gram·pus·es.

a cetacean, Grampus griseus, of the dolphin family, widely distributed in northern seas.
any of various related cetaceans, as the killer whale, Orcinus (Orca) orca.
a giant whip scorpion common to Florida.

Origin of grampus

1520–30; earlier grampoys, variant (by assimilation) of graundepose great fish, equivalent to graunde grand + pose, poys < Middle French pois, peis < Latin pisce- (stem of piscis) fish; replacing Middle English gra(s)peis < Middle FrenchLatin crassus piscis fat fish Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for grampus

Historical Examples of grampus

  • They were soon aboard the Grampus, where their coming was a surprise to the crew.

    Boy Scouts on Hudson Bay

    G. Harvey Ralphson

  • From what I have seen of him at a distance, I should say that he was about the bigness of a grampus.

  • If they could have brought it, I am sure that Grampus would never have got any.

    The Mahatma and the Hare

    H. Rider Haggard

  • We must try and get the foresail hoisted, Grampus,” said I. “If we can, we may do yet.

    Hurricane Hurry

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • I watched her anxiously, both on my own account and that of Grampus and the men with him.

    Hurricane Hurry

    W.H.G. Kingston

British Dictionary definitions for grampus


noun plural -puses

a widely distributed slaty-grey dolphin, Grampus griseus, with a blunt snout
another name for killer whale

Word Origin for grampus

C16: from Old French graspois, from gras fat (from Latin crassus) + pois fish (from Latin piscis)
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 grampus

1590s, earlier graundepose (1520s), altered (by influence of grand) from Middle English graspeys (late 13c.), from Anglo-French grampais, from Old French graspois, craspois "whale, (salted) whale meat; blubber; seal," from Medieval Latin craspicis, literally "fat fish," from Latin crassus "thick" + piscis "fish." For specifics of usage in English, see OED.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper