[ kelp ]
/ kɛlp /


any large, brown, cold-water seaweed of the family Laminariaceae, used as food and in various manufacturing processes.
a bed or mass of such seaweeds.
the ash of these seaweeds.

verb (used without object)

to burn these seaweeds for their ash.

Nearby words

  1. kelmscott manor,
  2. keloid,
  3. keloidosis,
  4. keloplasty,
  5. kelowna,
  6. kelp bass,
  7. kelp crab,
  8. kelp greenling,
  9. kelper,
  10. kelpfish

Origin of kelp

1350–1400; apparently dialectal variant of Middle English culp < ? Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for kelping

  • Aunt Charlotte could well remember the kelping days, but even the mists of seventy years had no power to cast a glamour over them.

    The Isles of Scilly|Jessie Mothersole

British Dictionary definitions for kelping


/ (kɛlp) /


any large brown seaweed, esp any in the order Laminariales
the ash of such seaweed, used as a source of iodine and potash

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 kelping



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for kelping


[ kĕlp ]

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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.