killer whale


Definition of killer whale

: a relatively small toothed whale (Orcinus orca of the family Delphinidae) that is black above with white underparts and white oval-shaped patches behind the eyes, attains a length of 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 meters), typically hunts in groups, and preys chiefly on sea mammals (such as seals, sea lions, and other whales), large fish, and squid

called also orca

Examples of killer whale in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Covering two walls are large-format versions of the ID catalog, family trees for all the individuals in the Southern Resident killer whale population. Catherine Denardo, Outside Online, 3 Feb. 2021 Leeman was one of two fishermen in the waters off Cape Cod on Sunday afternoon who took video and photographs of a large orca — better known as a killer whale — swimming nearby. Globe Staff,, 17 May 2022 The Haida, whose land encompassed cedar forests, probably shaped it and decorated the prow and stern with designs of an eagle and killer whale. New York Times, 5 May 2022 The southern resident orcas — a type of killer whale — are struggling to survive. Washington Post, 5 May 2022 But when a killer whale breaks from its training, all bets are off. Tim Zimmermann, Outside Online, 30 July 2010 This submersible was designed to look like a dolphin, shark or killer whale and—just like its marine inspirations—can leap out of the water or even do a 360-degree flip under the surface. Michael Verdon, Robb Report, 2 Apr. 2022 Demonstrators have been rallying to free a killer whale named Lolita for more than a year now. The Editors, Outside Online, 27 Jan. 2015 Huggins takes skin samples from where the killer whale teeth marks are. Peter Wayne Moe, Longreads, 25 Feb. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of killer whale

1884, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for killer whale

Time Traveler

The first known use of killer whale was in 1884

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Statistics for killer whale

Last Updated

23 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Killer whale.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for killer whale

killer whale


Kids Definition of killer whale

: a toothed whale that is mostly black above and white below and feeds especially on fish, squid, birds, and sea mammals (as seals)

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