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 This area near the Nantucket Shoals wasn’t always such a right whale hot spot. Dino Grandoni, Anchorage Daily News, 22 Apr. 2022 But climate change is already compounding the right whale’s woes. Dino Grandoni, Anchorage Daily News, 22 Apr. 2022 Clay George has spent much of the last 15 winters on a boat, scouring the waters between Charleston and Jacksonville for one of the rarest large whale species on the planet, the North Atlantic right whale. Drew Kann, ajc, 29 Dec. 2021 North Atlantic right whale recording provided with the kind permission of the Watkins Marine Mammal Sound Database / New Bedford Whaling Museum. Scientific American Custom Media, Scientific American, 20 Jan. 2022 Interstate fishing managers are holding a series of public hearings next month about a plan to implement electronic tracking for lobster boats to provide better protection for the North Atlantic right whale. courant.com, 20 Dec. 2021 The North Atlantic right whale has seen a 30% population decline over the last ten years. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, 8 Dec. 2021 Other whales included the North Atlantic right whale and bowhead whale eating more than 1,825 tons of zooplankton a year. Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY, 8 Nov. 2021 The vaquita porpoise will be extinct in a matter of years, with the Māui dolphin and North Atlantic right whale likely following close behind. Spencer Roberts, Wired, 24 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of right whale

1725, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About right whale

Time Traveler for right whale

Time Traveler

The first known use of right whale was in 1725

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near right whale


right whale

right whale porpoise

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for right whale

Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Right whale.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/right%20whale. Accessed 25 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on right whale

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about right whale


Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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