The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







For the anti-ship missile see AGM-84 Harpoon. For the American brewery see Harpoon Brewery

A harpoon is a long spear-like instrument used in fishing to catch fish or other aquatic animals such as whales.

Usually an harpoon consists of a launcher (mostly a cannon) and a projectile which is a large spear connected to a thick rope. The spearhead is shaped in a manner that it will penetrate the thick layers of whale fat and stick in the flesh. It has sharp spikes to prevent the spear from sliding out. Thus, by pulling the rope with a motor, the whalers can drag the whale back to their ship.

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Last updated: 08-17-2005 20:14:02