blow·​hole | \ ˈblō-ˌhōl How to pronounce blowhole (audio) \
plural blowholes

Definition of blowhole

1 : a hole in metal caused by a bubble of gas captured during solidification
2 : a nostril in the top of the head of a cetacean and especially a whale
3 : a hole or fissure in rocks along a shore through which incoming waves force air to rush upward or water to spout intermittently The blowhole is in a place where ocean waves marching in from the north have undercut a lava shelf and carved a tire-sized hole so that surf can spout up like a Yellowstone geyser.— Brian J. Cantwell

Examples of blowhole in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The sounds of gasping blowhole spouts mixed in with their normal chatter, which developed a kind of conversational rhythm as time went on. Hillary Richard, New York Times, "Doing the Bump With the Belugas," 11 May 2020 These Jurassic animals most likely breathed through their noses rather than blowholes. Hiroko Masuike, New York Times, "Oil, Singapore, Nova Scotia: Your Monday Evening Briefing," 20 Apr. 2020 Sometimes their tentacles cover the dolphin’s blowhole or fill their throats, suffocating the dolphin. Claire Bugos, Smithsonian, "Watch Dolphins Punt, Thrash and Trap Their Prey," 14 Nov. 2019 Twenty of these bacterial species are closely related to the bacteria found in the blowholes and mouths of other marine mammals – mostly dolphins. Amy Apprill, The Conversation, "My team uses crossbows and drones to collect bacteria from whales - and the results are teaching us how to keep whales healthy," 17 Dec. 2019 Deep, wide dents filled with water are populated by animals with scales or blowholes or no eyes, and ones that live in shells that look like tiny purses made out of little plates. Jenny Slate, The New Yorker, "Going to the Restaurant," 16 Sep. 2019 Kip Louttit, executive director of the Marine Exchange of Southern California, a nonprofit that monitors ship traffic, said that a whale’s blowhole can be easily confused with the whitecaps of the sea. Los Angeles Times, "In the Santa Barbara Channel, an underwater sound system tries to keep whales and ships apart," 16 Aug. 2019 And an 18-year-old right whale was entangled in fishing gear near Quebec, with a rope cutting into its head and over its blowhole. Amanda Coletta, Anchorage Daily News, "North Atlantic right whales are migrating in new ways - and dying in the process," 2 Aug. 2019 The whales also breathe through their blowholes, which are separate from their mouths, and very rarely blocked by debris. Sarah Keartes, National Geographic, "How a humpback whale ended up with a sea lion in its mouth," 30 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'blowhole.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of blowhole

1691, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for blowhole

Time Traveler

The first known use of blowhole was in 1691

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Statistics for blowhole

Last Updated

17 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Blowhole.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce blowhole (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of blowhole

: a hole that is on the top of a whale or related animal's head and is used by the animal for breathing
: a hole in the ice to which seals and other animals that are living in the water under the ice come to breathe

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