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harpoon

[ hahr-poon ]
/ hɑrˈpun /
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noun
a barbed, spearlike missile attached to a rope, and thrown by hand or shot from a gun, used for killing and capturing whales and large fish.
Harpoon, Military. a jet-powered, radar-guided U.S. Navy cruise missile with a high explosive warhead designed for use against surface ships and launchable from a surface vessel, submerged submarine, or aircraft.
verb (used with object)
to strike, catch, or kill with or as if with a harpoon.
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Origin of harpoon

First recorded in 1590–1600; from Dutch harpoen, ultimately derived from Old French harpon “a clasp, brooch,” equivalent to harp- (from Latin harpē, from Greek: “hook”) + -on diminutive suffix

OTHER WORDS FROM harpoon

har·poon·er, nounhar·poon·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use harpoon in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for harpoon

harpoon
/ (hɑːˈpuːn) /

noun
  1. a barbed missile attached to a long cord and hurled or fired from a gun when hunting whales, etc
  2. (as modifier)a harpoon gun
verb
(tr) to spear with or as if with a harpoon

Derived forms of harpoon

harpooner or harpooneer, nounharpoon-like, adjective

Word Origin for harpoon

C17: probably from Dutch harpoen, from Old French harpon clasp, from harper to seize, perhaps of Scandinavian origin
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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