• synonyms


See more synonyms for kelp on Thesaurus.com
  1. any large, brown, cold-water seaweed of the family Laminariaceae, used as food and in various manufacturing processes.
  2. a bed or mass of such seaweeds.
  3. the ash of these seaweeds.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to burn these seaweeds for their ash.
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Origin of kelp

1350–1400; apparently dialectal variant of Middle English culp < ?
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for kelp

seaweed, scum, dulse, kelp

Examples from the Web for kelp

Historical Examples of kelp

  • Kelp, or sea-weed, is used with advantage where it can be obtained.

    The Cauliflower

    A. A. Crozier

  • The others, looking off toward the kelp, then see more of the birds.

  • A ton of kelp is obtained from 20 to 22 tons of wet sea-weed.

  • If basalt be used, the proportion of kelp may be diminished.

  • Then, too, a big bed of the kelp is a great break to the sea.

    Jack the Young Canoeman

    George Bird Grinnell

British Dictionary definitions for kelp


  1. any large brown seaweed, esp any in the order Laminariales
  2. the ash of such seaweed, used as a source of iodine and potash
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Word Origin for kelp

C14: of unknown 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

Word Origin and History for kelp


1660s, from Middle English culpe (late 14c.), of unknown origin. Kelper "native or inhabitant of the Falkland Islands" is attested from 1960.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

kelp in Science


  1. Any of various brown, often very large seaweeds that grow in colder ocean regions. Kelps are varieties of brown algae of the order Laminariales, with some species growing over 61 m (200 ft) long. Kelps are harvested as food (primarily in eastern Asia), as fertilizer, and for their sodium and potassium salts, used in industrial processes. Kelps are also a source of thickening agents and colloid stabilizers used in many commercial products. See more at brown alga.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.