sperm whale

play
noun \ˈspərm-\

Definition of sperm whale

  1. :  a very large toothed whale (Physeter macrocephalus synonym P. catodon) that has large conical teeth in the lower jaw, a single blowhole, and a massive squarish head with a closed cavity containing a fluid mixture of spermaceti and oil, and that may reach a length in the male of nearly 60 feet (18.3 meters)

Illustration of sperm whale

Origin and Etymology of sperm whale

short for spermaceti whale


First Known Use: circa 1700


SPERM WHALE Defined for English Language Learners

sperm whale

play
noun

Definition of sperm whale for English Language Learners

  • : a type of whale that has a very large head and is hunted for its fat and oil


SPERM WHALE Defined for Kids

sperm whale

play
noun

Definition of sperm whale for Students

  1. :  a huge whale with a large head having a closed cavity that contains a mixture of wax and oil


Learn More about sperm whale


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to glide in or as if in an airplane

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • istock-refers-to-this-as-a-tumble-of-strawberries-which-sounded-pretty-nice-to-us
  • Which is a synonym of garner?
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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