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

Great whites have been seen abandoning this prime feeding area when killer whales come too close for comfort—even if the mammals are simply passing through for a few hours. Jason G. Goldman, Scientific American, "Orcas May Turn Great White Sharks into Scaredy Cats," 8 July 2019 The car was soon joined by a helicopter, a killer whale, an aircraft carrier, Jose Canseco, and the X-Men. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, "How Posters Became Art," 1 July 2019 Several killer whales can binge on a single gray whale calf for days, Black said. Mariel Padilla,, "Pod of killer whales makes rare visit to Monterey Bay," 22 June 2019 The killer whale was captured off Puget Sound in 1970 and taken into captivity. USA TODAY, "‘Lorax’ tree legend, butter Elmo, meth squirrel: News from around our 50 states," 19 June 2019 The captive group includes 11 killer whales and 87 are belugas. Matt Mcnulty,, "Russia Starting to Release Captive Whales From 'Whale Jail' Following International Outcry," 21 June 2019 Humpbacks, killer whales and dolphins are this week’s stars of the show. Tom Stienstra,, "Whales, killer sharks steal some of U.S. Open’s thunder in Monterey Bay," 12 June 2019 The second episode examines an eerie glow in the sea that brings killer whales together. Ed Stockly,, "What's on TV Friday: 'Wyatt Cenac's Problem Areas' on HBO," 6 June 2019 Hargrove is a crucial figure who came full circle, Ferrer said, from a boy determined to become a killer whale trainer to outspoken activist. Hal Boedeker,, "SeaWorld: Orlando death spurred ‘Whisteblower’ activist," 6 June 2019

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.

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First Known Use of killer whale

1884, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for killer whale

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for killer whale

The first known use of killer whale was in 1884

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More Definitions for killer whale

killer whale


English Language Learners Definition of killer whale

: a black-and-white whale that kills and eats other animals (such as seals)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on killer whale

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with killer whale

Spanish Central: Translation of killer whale Encyclopedia article about killer whale

Comments on killer whale

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


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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