[Fr. harpon.] A spear or javelin used for the capture of whales and other large fish. It is made of iron, about 5 feet long, with a sharp flat point with barbs. The edges of the point are made sharp, so that it will go into the whale easily, and then the barbs keep it from pulling out. It is thrown by the hand, but sometimes is discharged from a gun. The gun-harpoon is a short bar of iron, with a ring at the end to fasten a rope to. This is fired from a small cannon in the bow of the boat.