[hwelp, welp]


the young of the dog, or of the wolf, bear, lion, tiger, seal, etc.
a youth, especially an impudent or despised one.
  1. any of a series of longitudinal projections or ridges on the barrel of a capstan, windlass, etc.
  2. any of the teeth of a sprocket wheel.

verb (used with or without object)

(of a female dog, lion, etc.) to give birth to (young).

Origin of whelp

before 900; (noun) Middle English; Old English hwelp (cognate with German Welf); (v.) Middle English whelpen, derivative of the noun
Related formswhelp·less, adjectiveun·whelped, adjective

Synonyms for whelp

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for whelped

Historical Examples of whelped

  • Curs was unfortunate; the evil three were whelped of a mighty strain.

    Once Aboard The Lugger

    Arthur Stuart-Menteth Hutchinson

  • Out, you diminutive pint-pot, whelped of an overgrown reckoning!


    Sir Walter Scott

  • He never could do anything like a man since the day he was whelped.

  • He was whelped and raised in the mountains on one of the sugar-estates, and is known to be of the best pedigree.

  • The large, wolf-like form, the bushy tail—why there could be no duplicate of this ever whelped at a Zulu kraal, that was certain.

    A Frontier Mystery

    Bertram Mitford

British Dictionary definitions for whelped



a young offspring of certain animals, esp of a wolf or dog
derogatory a young man or youth
jocular a young child
nautical any of the ridges, parallel to the axis, on the drum of a capstan to keep a rope, cable, or chain from slipping


(of an animal or, disparagingly, a woman) to give birth to (young)

Word Origin for whelp

Old English hwelp (a); related to Old High German hwelf, Old Norse hvelpr, Danish hvalp
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 whelped



Old English hwelp "whelp, young of the dog," from a Germanic root related to Old Saxon hwelp, Old Norse hvelpr, Dutch welp, German hwelf; of unknown origin. Now largely displaced by puppy. Also applied to wild animals. Sense of "scamp" first recorded early 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper