pilot whale


: either of two dark gray to black, medium-sized toothed whales (Globicephala melas and G. macrorhynchus) of temperate to tropical waters that have a large rounded forehead and short snout and typically feed on squid and small fish

called also blackfish

Examples of pilot whale in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Many migrant species rarely seen from Puerto Rico proper come close to shore: dolphins, pilot whales, tiger sharks, bluefin tuna, flying fish. Carina Del Valle Schorske, New York Times, 20 Mar. 2024 In August, a pod of nearly 100 pilot whales stranded themselves on the shore of an Australian beach, befuddling marine biologists and attracting international attentio when wildlife experts made the decision to euthanize them. Eric Lagatta, USA TODAY, 18 Mar. 2024 The Navy’s Marine Mammal Program has at various points tested a dozen marine mammals — including orcas, pilot whales and seals — for duties including mine detection and swimmer defense. Andrew Van Dam, Washington Post, 15 Mar. 2024 While pilot whales live in kind of deep water and are deep diving species, killer whales tend to be more associated with coasts and shoreline and tend to stay closer to the surface. Dana Taylor, USA TODAY, 5 Jan. 2024 The pilot whales hung around for more than two hours. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 4 Sep. 2023 Similar considerations may have led to the evolution of menopause in female pilot whales. Jared Diamond, Discover Magazine, 11 Nov. 2019 Then the pilot whales made another run at the sperm whales. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 4 Sep. 2023 There is no such quota for the pilot whales, according to Whale and Dolphin Conservation. Andrea Sach, Anchorage Daily News, 14 July 2023

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

1867, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pilot whale was in 1867

Dictionary Entries Near pilot whale

Cite this Entry

“Pilot whale.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pilot%20whale. Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

pilot whale

: either of two mostly black medium-sized toothed whales related to the dolphins

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