blue whale

noun

Definition of blue whale

: a very large baleen whale (Balaenoptera musculus synonym Sibbaldus musculus) that may reach a weight of 150 tons (136 metric tons) and a length of 100 feet (30 meters) and is generally considered the largest living animal

Illustration of blue whale

Illustration of blue whale

Examples of blue whale in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Every nine minutes, about 300,000 pounds of plastic ends up in the ocean – the weight of a blue whale, the largest animal on Earth. Julie Packard, The Mercury News, "Opinion: How California can create a future free of unnecessary plastic waste," 11 Sep. 2019 Since then, researchers have found other species of whale that sing, including blue whales, fin whales and minke whales. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Listen to the First Known Song of the North Pacific Right Whale," 24 June 2019 In 2007, five blue whales were found dead in the channel. San Diego Union-Tribune, "California sound system tries to keep whales and ships apart," 16 Aug. 2019 In the United States, festival-goers produce 53,000 tons of waste each year, the equivalent of 450 blue whales, according to Claire O'Neill, co-founder of A Greener Festival, a group that helps festivals reduce their environmental impact. Isabelle Gerretsen, CNN, "How not to trash the planet at a music festival," 25 June 2019 Meet Our Experts National Geographic Emerging Explorer Asha de Vos is a Sri Lankan marine biologist, ocean educator, and pioneer of blue whale research within the Northern Indian Ocean. National Geographic, "Bali High School Expedition," 17 June 2019 Asha is the first Sri Lankan to earn a Ph.D. in marine mammal research; founded the nonprofit Oceanswell; and runs the Sri Lankan Blue Whale Project, which is the first long-term study of blue whales in the region. National Geographic, "Bali High School Expedition," 17 June 2019 Most whale populations have not yet been recovered, including larger whales such as blue whales, fin whales and sei whales. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Japan will resume commercial whaling in July after a 30-year break," 9 June 2019 Even though the cells of a blue whale and of a fruit fly are roughly the same size, the whale’s cell has a lower metabolic rate. Quanta Magazine, "Too Small for Big Muscles, Tiny Animals Use Springs," 13 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of blue whale

1851, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about blue whale

Statistics for blue whale

Last Updated

11 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for blue whale

The first known use of blue whale was in 1851

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for blue whale

blue whale

noun

English Language Learners Definition of blue whale

: a very large bluish-gray whale

blue whale

noun

Kids Definition of blue whale

: a very large whale that is generally considered the largest living animal

More from Merriam-Webster on blue whale

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about blue whale

Comments on blue whale

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

WORD OF THE DAY

involving a confidence or trust

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Word Puzzles

  • alt 57589b2b4c6a3
  • Which answer pairs best with each of the following words? living, estate, club, music, road, mile
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!