whale shark


: a shark (Rhincodon typus) of warm waters that has small teeth, feeds chiefly on plankton strained by its gill rakers, may sometimes attain a length of up to 60 feet (18.3 meters), and is the largest known fish

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The largest shark alive is a whale shark, according to the Smithsonian. Olivia Munson, USA TODAY, 28 Oct. 2022 The world’s heaviest fish species is the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), according to Guinness World Records, with the heaviest found in Pakistan in 1949, weighing 21.5 metric tons. Hafsa Khalil, CNN, 18 Oct. 2022 Shores of Silence, a Mike Pandey film resulting in protecting the whale shark under Indian law and global CITES list, was distributed to influential delegates, not disseminated for general awareness. Himangi Kanodia, Quartz, 25 Oct. 2022 Thankfully, La Paz as a community has taken measures to be at the forefront of whale shark protection and conservation. Krista Simmons, Sunset Magazine, 7 Oct. 2022 The resulting model suggested a 52-foot-long, 67-ton animal, about as large as a whale shark. New York Times, 17 Aug. 2022 But the whale shark tissue of these whale sharks from Ningaloo was different. Melissa Cristina Márquez, Forbes, 9 Aug. 2022 Just how whale shark markings are unique to the individual, like a person’s fingerprint, so are the underside markings of a manta ray. Melissa Cristina Márquez, Forbes, 18 July 2022 The record for a fish is held by a whale shark that reached 1,928 meters in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Stephanie Pain, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'whale shark.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1885, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of whale shark was circa 1885

Dictionary Entries Near whale shark

Cite this Entry

“Whale shark.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whale%20shark. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

whale shark


: a harmless shark of warm waters that feeds chiefly on plankton, may sometimes grow to a length of up to 60 feet (18.3 meters), and is the largest known fish

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