ror·​qual ˈrȯr-kwəl How to pronounce rorqual (audio)
: any of a family (Balaenopteridae) of large baleen whales that have relatively small heads, short, broad plates of baleen, and the skin of the throat marked with deep longitudinal furrows and that include the blue whale, humpback whale, minke whale, fin whale, and sei whale

Examples of rorqual in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Instead, the species, all part of a group called rorquals, have evolved more into a network, sharing large segments of DNA with even distant cousins. Author: Karen Weintraub, Anchorage Daily News, 7 Apr. 2018 Others called rorquals, such as humpbacks and blue whales, use gulp-feeding, taking in vast mouthfuls of water and krill and then squeezing the water out. National Geographic, 19 Apr. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rorqual.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French, from Norwegian rørhval, from Old Norse reytharhvalr, from reythr rorqual + hvalr whale

First Known Use

1824, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of rorqual was in 1824

Dictionary Entries Near rorqual

Cite this Entry

“Rorqual.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

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