right whale


: any of several large baleen whales (family Balaenidae and especially genus Eubalaena) that lack a dorsal fin and have very long baleen plates, an extremely large head with a V-shaped blowhole, a smooth throat, short, broad, rounded flippers, and whitish protuberances of thickened skin about the head

Illustration of right whale

Illustration of right whale

Examples of right whale in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Whaling ships pursued all types of whales for the next two centuries, including blue, sperm, and right whales. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 26 Oct. 2023 Since 1970, North Atlantic right whales have been protected under the Endangered Species Act. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 Oct. 2023 Researchers have recorded seasonal mismatches for the blooming of zooplankton, the main food source of right whales, and the time in which the whales arrive along their migratory route. Julia Jacobo, ABC News, 13 Sep. 2023 Experts say the Massachusetts coast sees some of the highest concentrations of right whales in the world. Daniel Kool, BostonGlobe.com, 11 May 2023 North Atlantic right whales, whose precarious population continues to dwindle, are especially vulnerable to these threats, especially since their feeding grounds and migratory routes are in the vicinity of major ports along the Atlantic coastline, Robbins said. Julia Jacobo, ABC News, 13 Sep. 2023 The senators voiced particular concern about two deaths of endangered North Atlantic right whales, although most of the whale deaths involved the more plentiful humpback species. BostonGlobe.com, 29 Mar. 2023 The commission also addressed the stranding of a North Atlantic right whale in Virginia Beach on Feb. 12. Greg Wehner, Fox News, 23 Feb. 2023 Seafood Watch, the conservation group operated by the aquarium, made the move because of the threat posed to right whales by fishing gear entanglement used to harvest lobster. Timothy Bella, Washington Post, 15 Mar. 2023 See More

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

1725, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of right whale was in 1725

Dictionary Entries Near right whale

Cite this Entry

“Right whale.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/right%20whale. Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition

right whale

: a large baleen whale with no fin on the back, a very large head, and small eyes near the lower part of the mouth

More from Merriam-Webster on right whale

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