[wawl-ruh s, wol-]

noun, plural wal·rus·es, (especially collectively) wal·rus.

a large marine mammal, Odobenus nosmarus, of arctic seas, related to the seals, and having flippers, a pair of large tusks, and a tough, wrinkled skin.

Origin of walrus

1645–55; < Dutch: literally, whale horse; cognate with German Walross, Danish hvalros; compare Old English horshwæl horse-whale
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for walrus

Contemporary Examples of walrus

Historical Examples of walrus

  • Then he jumped to the front, and sent a bullet into the breast of the walrus.

    First at the North Pole

    Edward Stratemeyer

  • Walrus after walrus was shot by Nansen, while Henriksen was busy with his harpoon to prevent them sinking.

    Fridtjof Nansen

    Jacob B. Bull

  • The ball seemed to take effect, for the walrus dived immediately with a violent splutter, and was seen no more.

    The Giant of the North

    R.M. Ballantyne

  • Taking advantage of this, we had made twelve hundred pounds of dog pemmican from walrus meat.

    My Attainment of the Pole

    Frederick A. Cook

  • Whatever explanation be attempted of this apparition, the ordinary resource of seal or walrus will not avail here.

British Dictionary definitions for walrus


noun plural -ruses or -rus

a pinniped mammal, Odobenus rosmarus, of northern seas, having a tough thick skin, upper canine teeth enlarged as tusks, and coarse whiskers and feeding mainly on shellfish: family Odobenidae

Word Origin for walrus

C17: probably from Dutch, from Scandinavian; compare Old Norse hrosshvalr (literally: horse whale) and Old English horschwæl; see horse, whale
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 walrus

1650s, from Dutch walrus, which was probably a folk-etymology alteration (by influence of Dutch walvis "whale" and ros "horse") of a Scandinavian word, such as Old Norse rosmhvalr "walrus," hrosshvalr "a kind of whale," or rostungr "walrus." Old English had horschwæl, and later morse, from Lapp morsa or Finnish mursu, which ultimately might be the source, much garbled, of the first element in Old Norse rosmhvalr.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper