noun \ˈnär-ˌwäl, -ˌhwäl, -wəl\

Definition of NARWHAL

:  an arctic cetacean (Monodon monoceros) about 20 feet (6 meters) long with the male having a long twisted ivory tusk

Variants of NARWHAL

nar·whal also nar·whale \-ˌwāl, -ˌhwāl\

Illustration of NARWHAL

Origin of NARWHAL

Norwegian & Dan narhval & Swedish narval, probably modification of Icelandic nárhvalur, from Old Norse nāhvalr, from nār corpse + hvalr whale; from its color
First Known Use: 1646


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Narwhal (Monodon monoceros)—Painting by Richard Ellis

Toothed whale (Monodon monoceros, family Monodontidae) of the Arctic, found in groups of 15–20 along coasts and sometimes in rivers. Narwhals are mottled gray, attain a length of 11.5–16 ft (3.5–5 m), and have no dorsal fin. They have only two teeth, at the upper jaw tip. The male's left tooth is a straight, protruding tusk, up to 8.9 ft (2.7 m) long, that is grooved on the surface in a left-handed spiral. It was prized in medieval times as the unicorn horn. The tusk is thought to have evolved as a sexual display. Narwhals eat fishes, cephalopods, and crustaceans. They are hunted by humans for their tusks and meat.

Variants of NARWHAL

narwhal or narwal or narwhale


Next Word in the Dictionary: nary
Previous Word in the Dictionary: nartje
All Words Near: narwhal

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up narwhal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).