whale

noun, often attributive
\ ˈhwāl How to pronounce whale (audio) , ˈwāl\
plural whales

Definition of whale

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 or plural whale : any of various very large, aquatic, marine mammals (order Cetacea) that have a torpedo-shaped body with a thick layer of blubber, paddle-shaped forelimbs but no hind limbs, a horizontally flattened tail, and nostrils that open externally at the top of the head also : cetacean — see baleen whale, toothed whale
2 : one that is impressive especially in size a whale of a difference a whale of a good time

whale

verb (1)
whaled; whaling

Definition of whale (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to engage in whale fishing

whale

verb (2)
whaled; whaling

Definition of whale (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : lash, thrash
2 : to strike or hit vigorously
3 : to defeat soundly

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Other Words from whale

Noun

whalelike \ ˈhwāl-​ˌlīk How to pronounce whalelike (audio) , ˈwāl-​ \ adjective

Examples of whale in a Sentence

Noun

a whale of a pickup truck

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Surfboard and watercolor whale prints, which pay homage to the island’s coastal locale and maritime history, are sprinkled throughout. Hannah Seligson, Town & Country, "The Best Room At... The Wauwinet," 9 Aug. 2019 Nearly all seabirds—and other ocean creatures, like sea turtles and whales—are consuming plastic. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Eating Even One Piece of Plastic Has Health Consequences for Baby Seabirds," 5 Aug. 2019 The children's room was kitted out with two budget bunk beds, an elephant laundry basket and whales on the walls. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "See Inside Duchess Kate and Prince William's Vacation Villa in Mustique," 3 Aug. 2019 Three whales were returned to the sea, while two others were taken to a Clearwater Marine Aquarium facility in Tarpon Springs for medical treatment and testing. USA TODAY, "Milestone rhino, Bigfoot shooting, jailed for feeding cats: News from around our 50 states," 1 Aug. 2019 When lunge feeding, whales charge toward food and sweep up a large mouthful. Fox News, "California photographer snaps sea lion ‘trapped’ in humpback whale’s mouth: ‘The true Jonah experience’," 31 July 2019 Notable campaigns included one by Britain’s Sky News, which showed whales bloated by plastic bags when the creatures were cut open after dying. Washington Post, "Holiday Inn owner to ditch mini shampoos to save seas," 31 July 2019 Notable campaigns included one by Britain's Sky News, which showed whales bloated by plastic bags when the creatures were cut open after dying. Danica Kirka, chicagotribune.com, "The owner of Holiday Inn is ditching mini shampoos," 30 July 2019 From swimming in the private pools to taking advantage of Playa Escondida's activities, like horseback riding and whale watching, you'll never be bored in this paradise. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "The 'Bachelor in Paradise' Resort in Mexico Is a Real Place, And You Can Stay There," 24 July 2019

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

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (1)

1700, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

circa 1790, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for whale

Noun

Middle English, from Old English hwæl; akin to Old High German hwal whale and perhaps to Latin squalus sea fish

Verb (2)

origin unknown

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Statistics for whale

Last Updated

13 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for whale

The first known use of whale was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for whale

whale

noun

English Language Learners Definition of whale

: an often very large animal that lives in the ocean and that is a mammal rather than a fish
informal : something that is very big, important, good, etc.

whale

noun
\ ˈhwāl How to pronounce whale (audio) , ˈwāl\

Kids Definition of whale

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a very large sea mammal that has flippers and a flattened tail and breathes through an opening on the top of the head

whale

verb
whaled; whaling

Kids Definition of whale (Entry 2 of 2)

: to hunt whales

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More from Merriam-Webster on whale

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with whale

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for whale

Spanish Central: Translation of whale

Nglish: Translation of whale for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of whale for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about whale

Comments on whale

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