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

Examples of whale shark in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Just 30 minutes from the airport is nearby Mactan Island, known for world-class snorkeling, whale shark sightings, and more ocean splendor. Hannah Towey, Condé Nast Traveler, 7 Mar. 2024 Woven throughout the property are subtle reminders of the sea and the creatures within, such as sculptures of whale sharks by Mexican artist César Menchaca using upcycled plastic and elegant lobby seating echoing the shape of a starfish. Kathleen Wong, USA TODAY, 22 Jan. 2024 As previously reported, the largest shark alive today, reaching up to 20 meters long, is the whale shark, a sedate filter feeder. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 22 Jan. 2024 Swim With Whale Sharks Isla Mujeres is one of the best places in Mexico to swim with whale sharks. Meagan Drillinger, Travel + Leisure, 12 July 2023 From roughly June to September, whale sharks gather in abundance across the region to feast on tiny fish eggs, with tourists traveling beyond the shores of Isla Mujeres to catch a glimpse of the phenomenon. Jared Ranahan, Forbes, 12 Feb. 2024 Although whale sharks are common in some areas of Australia, they are rarely seen near K’gari, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported. Aspen Pflughoeft, Miami Herald, 8 Feb. 2024 During the summer months, whale sharks come to the waters around Cancun. Meagan Drillinger, Travel + Leisure, 31 Jan. 2024 For whale sharks, June through September is peak season. Meagan Drillinger, Travel + Leisure, 3 Mar. 2024

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

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 21 Apr. 2024.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on whale shark

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