Dolphin, or Delphinus pho-caena, L. a cetaceous fish, found in the German ocean, and also in the Mediterranean sea. It is covered with a smooth, but very tough and firm skin ; its body is sometimes 8 feet long, and of a conical form, except itsback, which is prominent. This fish has teeth in both jaws, and above its snout, or nose, is a pipe, through which it spouts the water, necessarily taken in with its food.
Dolphins often follow ships at sea, and seize upon whatever is thrown overboard, as they are extremely swift in swimming, and are able to live a considerable time out of water; though, for want of air, they can continue in it only for a very short period. Hence they are sometimes taken up in fishing-nets, suffocated by being forcibly kept under water.
These fish, when young, afford a platable dish : they were formerly considered a great delicacy ; but are now little valued, except for the oil, which they yield in common with other cetaceous fish.