whal·​ing | \ ˈhwā-liŋ How to pronounce whaling (audio) , ˈwā-\

Definition of whaling

: the occupation of catching and extracting commercial products from whales

Examples of whaling in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The Japanese government has scrapped supposedly scientific whaling expeditions in Antarctic waters that involved killing a much larger number of whales. The Economist, "Politics this week," 6 July 2019 Over the last three decades, whales were protected by the 1986 International Whaling Commission moratorium that banned commercial whaling. Claudia Harmata, PEOPLE.com, "Japan Resumes Commercial Whaling After Three-Decade Break and Kills Two Whales on the First Day," 3 July 2019 Commercial whaling was banned in a 1986 International Whaling Commission moratorium. Ivan Watson And Michelle Lou, CNN, "Commercial whaling has been banned for three decades. Japan just resumed it with two kills," 2 July 2019 Homesick sailors on 19th-century American whaling ships commemorated their remarkable circumnavigations of the globe by recording their voyages into rocks on remote islands in northwestern Australia, report archaeologists. John Pickrell, National Geographic, "American whalers recorded voyages in Australian rock art, study reveals," 1 Mar. 2019 Each tale is about a ruler (Lear, with a kingdom; Captain Ahab, a whaling ship) who becomes so fixated on an idea that good governing gets subverted. Daryl H. Miller, latimes.com, "Review: ‘Moby Dick — Rehearsed’ swims in an ocean of imagination at Theatricum," 14 June 2019 Explore the village of Lahaina—once the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom, then a whaling port, and now an artsy enclave—to learn about the island’s past and present from local farmers and shopkeepers. National Geographic, "Hawai'i Middle School Expedition," 12 June 2019 The impact of the whaling fleets on the Hawaiian Islands during the reign of Kamehameha III (1825–1854) shaped the entire Hawaiian economy and was the primary source of income for the islands. The Seattle Times, "Winter getaway: Stay and play in Kaanapali, Maui," 15 Aug. 2018 Quick hop to Lahaina Kaanapali is conveniently located an easy five-minute drive from Lahaina, former whaling town and capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1820 to 1845. The Seattle Times, "Winter getaway: Stay and play in Kaanapali, Maui," 15 Aug. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of whaling

1688, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about whaling

Statistics for whaling

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for whaling

The first known use of whaling was in 1688

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for whaling



English Language Learners Definition of whaling

: the job or business of hunting whales

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on whaling

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with whaling

Nglish: Translation of whaling for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about whaling

Comments on whaling

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


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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