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Word Origin and History for cetacea

Cetacea

n.

order of marine mammals containing whales, 1830, Modern Latin, from Latin cetus "any large sea creature" (whales, seals, dolphins), from Greek ketos "a whale, a sea monster," of unknown origin, + -acea. Hence cetology "the study of whales," first attested 1851 in "Moby Dick."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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