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

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Illustration of right whale

Examples of right whale in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

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 But most other countries, noting that some populations of whales were only just beginning to rebound—there are under 500 right whales left in the North Atlantic, for example—rejected this proposal. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Japan restarting commercial whaling, ignoring global moratorium," 26 Dec. 2018 The North Atlantic right whale is a baleen whale that uses a filter-feeder system to consume krill. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Navy Is Limiting Noisier Activities to Protect an Endangered Whale," 15 Nov. 2018 Despite eight decades of conservation efforts, North Atlantic right whales are facing a new crisis. Washington Post, "As whales fade, movement they spawned tries to keep up hope," 3 Apr. 2018 The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the second right whale mortality of 2018 has been reported off of Martha's Vineyard. Fox News, "2nd right whale death of year reported off of Massachusetts," 29 Aug. 2018 Last year, a whale rescuer in Nova Scotia was killed when he was struck by the tail of a right whale, moments after disentangling it, the spokesperson said. Elise Takahama, BostonGlobe.com, "Entangled whale spotted off Cape Cod in October is freed from nets in N.Y.," 14 July 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.

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First Known Use of right whale

1725, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

10 Mar 2019

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The first known use of right whale was in 1725

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