sperm whale

\ ˈspərm- How to pronounce sperm whale (audio) \

Definition of sperm whale

: 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

Illustration of sperm whale

Examples of sperm whale in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web After an outpouring of concern and some social media criticism, the Dauphin Island Sea Lab has further explained and defended the decision to end the life of the first sperm whale known to have wandered into Mobile Bay. al, "Sea Lab defends euthanasia; sperm whale pulled from Mobile Bay," 27 Nov. 2020 Coastal Alabama residents this week got an unprecedented look at one of the largest and loudest toothed creatures on earth, when a sperm whale was spotted in Mobile Bay for the first time on record. Dennis Pillion | Dpillion@al.com, al, "Alabamians get rare glimpse of sperm whale, mysterious giant of the Gulf," 28 Nov. 2020 While this record is disturbing and speaks to the wanton destruction earlier generations of humanity brought to the Galápagos, the true horror comes after the infamous sperm whale rammed the Essex and sent her to the depths. Cyler Conrad, Scientific American, "Moby-Dick and the Galápagos Tortoises," 27 Nov. 2020 The sperm whale in Mobile Bay is estimated to be 36 feet long and may be nearly 30,000 pounds. al, "Stranded sperm whale moves north in Mobile Bay," 23 Nov. 2020 Alabama’s sperm whale, which ill-fatedly wandered into Mobile Bay last week, has died. al, "Sperm whale in Mobile Bay dies," 25 Nov. 2020 On a clear November day in 1970 in Florence, Ore., state highway engineers lit 20 cases of dynamite to blow apart a 45-foot sperm whale carcass that had washed up on the beach and festered for three days. Washington Post, "Fifty years ago, Oregon exploded a whale in a burst that ‘blasted blubber beyond all believable bounds’," 13 Nov. 2020 The famous sperm whale carcass washed up about a mile south of the Siuslaw River near Florence, an area that is part of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. oregonlive, "Oregon’s exploding whale, 50 years later: 10 ways to celebrate the big blast of blubber," 12 Nov. 2020 In the port of Leith in Edinburgh, Scotland, the construction of a new light rail system unearthed a pair of bones thought to have come from a large sperm whale. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "A Construction Project Reveals Whale Bones Beneath a Road in Scotland," 23 June 2020

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

circa 1700, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sperm whale

short for spermaceti whale

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Time Traveler for sperm whale

Time Traveler

The first known use of sperm whale was circa 1700

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Statistics for sperm whale

Last Updated

9 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sperm whale.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sperm%20whale. Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for sperm whale

sperm whale

How to pronounce sperm whale (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sperm whale

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

sperm whale


Kids Definition of sperm whale

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

More from Merriam-Webster on sperm whale

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about sperm whale

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