baleen whale


: any of a suborder (Mysticeti) of usually large whales typically of colder waters that lack teeth but have baleen plates in the upper jaw which are used to filter chiefly small crustaceans (such as krill) out of large quantities of seawater see fin whale, gray whale, humpback whale, right whale, rorqual compare toothed whale

Examples of baleen whale in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web By that time, the excessive whaling operations further offshore from Eden had decimated the population of humpbacks and the last baleen whale was processed in Eden in 1928. Joshua Rapp Learn, Discover Magazine, 9 Nov. 2023 For example, most baleen whales, with the exception of humpbacks, are fairly quiet. Glen Martin, Discover Magazine, 11 Nov. 2019 In 19th-century Australia, a pod of killer whales was known to herd baleen whales into a bay near a whalers’ settlement, then slap their tails to alert the humans to ready the harpoons. Camille Bromley, WIRED, 29 Aug. 2023 The lion’s share of this category is made up of baleen whales such as the fin whale, which has a biomass of eight million metric tons—around 60 percent of the aquatic mammals. Jan Dönges, Scientific American, 8 Mar. 2023 The footage shows three Rice's whales, enormous members of the baleen whale family that have been seen in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico, marine wildlife officials say. Emily Mae Czachor, CBS News, 26 Sep. 2023 But people have also worked alongside the powerful creatures: Australian whalers in the 1800s cooperated with orcas to capture and kill baleen whales, a tradition that may have originated thousands of years before with Indigenous Australian hunters. Victoria Sayo Turner, Smithsonian Magazine, 12 July 2023 And the whale shark is a docile scoop feeder, honestly closer to a baleen whale than our mental image of a scary shark. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 18 Aug. 2023 Now the researchers are looking at whether baleen whales actually aggregate in these DMS hotspots. Kate Wong, Scientific American, 13 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'baleen whale.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1874, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of baleen whale was in 1874

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Cite this Entry

“Baleen whale.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

baleen whale

: any of various usually large whales lacking teeth but having baleen for filtering small ocean animals (as krill) out of seawater compare toothed whale

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