right whale


Definition of 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

And Spruill recently teamed up with congressmen Seth Moulton and John Rutherford to pen a column about saving the North Atlantic right whale from extinction. Jon Chesto, BostonGlobe.com, "New England Aquarium takes a more active role in climate-change fight," 8 July 2019 Marine biologists have recorded singing from the rare North Pacific right whale for the first time. Helen Murphy, PEOPLE.com, "The Song of One of the Rarest Whales in the World Has Been Recorded for the First Time," 20 June 2019 The number of eastern North Pacific right whales is estimated at just 30 animals from a population largely wiped out by whalers. Dan Joling, Anchorage Daily News, "For first time, scientists record singing by rare North Pacific right whale," 19 June 2019 Tittensor pointed to lobsters off Maine and North Atlantic right whales as examples of creatures already being hurt by global warming hitting the ocean. Seth Borenstein, latimes.com, "Global warming may reduce fish and other sea life by 17% by the year 2100," 11 June 2019 Three North Atlantic right whales were spotted in the area, which is 19 nautical miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "New England news in brief," 26 Apr. 2018 Researchers with the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium in Boston captured 100 blow samples from 46 right whales over eight days off the East Coast. David Sharp, The Seattle Times, "Study: Blowhole spray can provide fast data on whale health," 17 July 2018 The Navy has agreed to restrict noisy training activities in certain parts of the Atlantic Ocean in order to help save the North Atlantic right whale. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Navy Is Limiting Noisier Activities to Protect an Endangered Whale," 15 Nov. 2018 There are an estimated 430 North Atlantic right whales, with just 100 females capable of reproduction. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Navy Is Limiting Noisier Activities to Protect an Endangered Whale," 15 Nov. 2018

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

1725, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about right whale

Statistics for right whale

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for right whale

The first known use of right whale was in 1725

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on right whale

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with right whale

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about right whale

Comments on right whale

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


providing supplementary assistance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Syn City

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!