\ˈkril \

Definition of krill 

: planktonic crustaceans and their larvae (order or suborder Euphausiacea and especially genus Euphausia) that constitute the principal food of baleen whales

Examples of krill in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The Adélie penguins that live across the coast of Antarctica and nearby islands love to eat tiny pinkish crustaceans called krill. Brian Resnick, Vox, "You can join the scientific quest to track penguin poop from space. It could help protect the species.," 12 Dec. 2018 Traveling during the summer to conduct field work, Shimomura studied bioluminescent fireworms in Bermuda, cave worms and limpets in New Zealand, and a plethora of glowing bacteria, twinkling fireflies and neon-colored squid and krill. Harrison Smith, The Seattle Times, "Osamu Shimomura, atomic blast survivor and Nobel-winning chemist, dies at 90," 23 Oct. 2018 The family also spends roughly $1,600 to $2,000 each month on maintenance and food, like frozen krill and shrimp. Candace Taylor, WSJ, "Home Shark Tanks Are In. Just One Problem: Sharks Make Terrible Pets," 29 July 2018 Less winter sea ice in the Antarctic means more open ocean where the whales like to feed on krill. Marissa Fessenden, Smithsonian, "Antarctica’s Waters May Soon Harbor a Boom of Baby Humpback Whales," 5 May 2018 The penguins feed mostly on shrimplike krill, giving their guano a distinctive pinkish color that can be more easily seen from a satellite. Karen Weintraub, New York Times, "A Supercolony of Penguins Has Been Found Near Antarctica," 5 Mar. 2018 And although humans weigh in at just 0.06 gigatons—on par with krill and termites—our impact on biomass since the beginning of civilization has been huge, scientists say. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Plants outweigh all other life on Earth," 21 May 2018 But already, research teams have noted a decline in krill populations, reports Andrea Thompson for Climate Central. Marissa Fessenden, Smithsonian, "Antarctica’s Waters May Soon Harbor a Boom of Baby Humpback Whales," 5 May 2018 Nature programs love to point in amazement to the fact that the largest animals on the planet subsist on some of the smallest, namely the krill. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Tiny krill appear to mix up the ocean," 20 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'krill.' 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 krill

1907, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for krill

Norwegian kril fry of fish

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about krill

Dictionary Entries near krill








Statistics for krill

Last Updated

15 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for krill

The first known use of krill was in 1907

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for krill



English Language Learners Definition of krill

: very small creatures in the ocean that are the main food of some whales


\ˈkril \

Kids Definition of krill

: tiny floating sea animals that resemble shrimp and are a chief food source of some whales

More from Merriam-Webster on krill

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with krill Encyclopedia article about krill

Comments on krill

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


a nest or breeding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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