bowhead whale


bow·​head whale ˈbō-ˌhed- How to pronounce bowhead whale (audio)
variants or bowhead
: a very large baleen whale (Balaena mysticetus of the family Balaenidae) of cold waters of the northern hemisphere that is related to the right whales, may reach a length of 45 to 60 feet (13.5 to 18 meters), and has an extremely large head with an arched lower jaw

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Polar bears usually prey on seals, though a significant portion of the Southern Beaufort Sea population has come to depend on bowhead whale scraps left on beach sites after Iñupiat hunters butcher their harvests. Yereth Rosen, Anchorage Daily News, 24 Dec. 2022 But in November, just two days before Thanksgiving, a Cessna Caravan arrived in the Inupaiq community of Anaktuvuk Pass up in the Brooks Range carrying more than 2,000 pounds of bowhead whale. Zachariah Hughes, Anchorage Daily News, 4 Dec. 2022 At the other extreme, some specimens of bowhead whale appear to be more than 120 years old, judging from the age of harpoons lodged in their flesh. George Church, Discover Magazine, 16 Oct. 2012 While the blue whale is the largest whale, honorable mention goes to the bowhead whale, a species residing nearly exclusively in the Arctic and stretching up to 60 feet long. Anna Kaufman, USA TODAY, 10 Aug. 2022 A few years ago, one of the women was processing a bowhead whale’s kidneys, saw that the part had festered and shared the observation with Stimmelmayr. Alena Naiden, Anchorage Daily News, 7 Aug. 2022 Inside were 58 Ziploc bags filled with bowhead whale maktak: harvested by one of Sweeney’s friends in her North Slope home community of Utqiagvik, flown to Anchorage and sliced, with traditional ulu knives, by Sweeney the night before. Nathaniel Herz, Anchorage Daily News, 9 May 2022 As orcas move in, Indigenous communities and scientists have observed that more bowhead whale carcasses have been left tattered in the seas, the Times reports. Rasha Aridi, Smithsonian Magazine, 3 Dec. 2021 Other whales included the North Atlantic right whale and bowhead whale eating more than 1,825 tons of zooplankton a year. Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY, 8 Nov. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bowhead 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

1869, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bowhead whale was in 1869

Dictionary Entries Near bowhead whale

Cite this Entry

“Bowhead whale.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Mar. 2023.

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