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kel·pie 1

also kel·py  (kĕl′pē)
n. pl. kel·pies
A malevolent water spirit of Scottish legend, usually having the shape of a horse and rejoicing in or causing drownings.

[Probably of Celtic origin; akin to Scottish Gaelic colpach, heifer.]

kel·pie 2

A sheepdog of a medium-sized breed developed in Australia, having a compact body, usually erect ears, and short coat. Also called Australian kelpie.

[From Kelpie, the name of an early specimen of the breed.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ˈkɛlpɪ) or


n, pl -pies
(Breeds) an Australian breed of sheepdog, originally developed from Scottish collies, having a smooth coat of various colours and erect ears
[named after a particular specimen of the breed, c. 1870]


(European Myth & Legend) (in Scottish folklore) a water spirit in the form of a horse that drowns its riders
[C18: probably related to Scottish Gaelic cailpeach heifer, of obscure origin]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


or kel•py

(ˈkɛl pi)

n., pl. -pies.
a water spirit of Scottish folklore reputed to cause drownings.
[1740–50; orig. uncertain]


(ˈkɛl pi)

any of an Australian breed of medium-sized sheepherding dogs with a short, harsh, straight coat and erect ears.
[1905–10; alleged to be the name of an early example of the breed]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.kelpie - (Scottish folklore) water spirit in the form of a horse that likes to drown its riders
folklore - the unwritten lore (stories and proverbs and riddles and songs) of a culture
Scotland - one of the four countries that make up the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; located on the northern part of the island of Great Britain; famous for bagpipes and plaids and kilts
evil spirit - a spirit tending to cause harm
2.kelpie - an Australian sheepdog with pointed ears
sheep dog, sheepdog, shepherd dog - any of various usually long-haired breeds of dog reared to herd and guard sheep
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
I could well understand the story of the Water Kelpie, that demon of the streams, who is fabled to keep wailing and roaring at the ford until the coming of the doomed traveller.
The streams were full, of course, and still made a great noise among the hills; but I observed that Alan thought no more upon the Kelpie, and was in high good spirits.
At Poole, Dave Mitchell's KELPIE JOE appeals in the first of a couple of A2s on the card over 450m at 7.29 having run well in defeat at this level last time.
They then toured the inside of the "head down" Kelpie to view the engineering work involved in its construction and unveiled a plaque to open the canal section.
It hit out at the "tacky fake Bavarian burger bar at the foot of the sculptures" which "had the gall to sell Kelpie burgers".
It's a kelpie: a shape-shifting water horse from Scottish folklore known to steal children.
My husband and I agreed that wed like another Australian Kelpie. Both of our two prior Kelpie girls were exceptional dogs, and we're hoping for a repeat experience.
The comments came as Paul Martin William Kelpie, from Harding Street in Derry, was jailed for 18 months at the city's Crown Court.
The Australian Kelpie was one of 37 dogs rescued from a dilapidated farm belonging to Margaret Harthill, in Kings Norton.
The extraordinary jumping, bending and twisting exercises performed by his adorable kelpie Ruby are a far cry from the simple tasks he hoped to teach Archie at his first class in Cardiff in 1996.
KELPIE Be warned - if you ever meet a Kelpie don't, whatever you do, climb on to his back.