Definition of narwhal
: an arctic cetacean (Monodon monoceros) that reaches a length of about 16 feet (5 meters) and possesses in the male one or rarely two long, spirally twisted, pointed tusks ◆Although the narwhal is classified as a toothed whale (suborder Odontoceti), it does not possess any teeth in its mouth.
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Recent Examples of narwhal from the Web
Nanasi and Markoosi getting ready to hunt Narwhals.
While scientists think the tusk's primary function relates to selecting a mate, these new observations show narwhals have another use for the tusks.
The tusk is actually a tooth that spirals out of the upper jaw on male narwhals, and can extend to about 10 feet (3 meters) long, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada.
Drone footage of wild narwhals has revealed that the whales use their tusks to hunt fish.
Despite their apparent noise, the drones dont seem to disturb the narwhals.
Behavior captured for the first time on camera shows narwhals using the long tusks protruding from their heads to stun Arctic cod by hitting them, using jagged, quick movements.
Until now, how narwhals used their long tusks had been subject to much speculation by scientists.
Identifying the key regions that narwhals inhabit can help conservationists better protect the animals.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'narwhal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
The narwhal is a [toothed whale](/dictionary/toothed whale) found throughout arctic waters. Its Latin binomial, Monodon monoceros, is derived from the Greek words for "single-toothed" and "single-horned." Its English name (also sometimes spelled narwhale) comes from the Norwegian and Danish narvhal and the Swedish narval, words which are probably a modification of the Icelandic nárhvalur, which comes from the Old Norse nāhvalr. In Old Norse hvalr means "whale" and is akin to the Old English hwæl, the ancestor of the Modern English whale. The first element of nāhvalr is believed to be nār, the Old Norse word for "corpse," from the resemblance of the animal's color to that of a human corpse.
Origin and Etymology of narwhal
Norwegian & Danish narhval & Swedish narval, probably modification of Icelandic nárhvalur, from Old Norse nāhvalr, from nār corpse + hvalr whale; from its color
First Known Use: 1646See Words from the same year
NARWHAL Defined for Kids
Definition of narwhal for Students
: an arctic marine animal that is related to dolphins and whales and in the male has a long twisted ivory tusk
Seen and Heard
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