- any of the larger marine mammals of the order Cetacea, especially as distinguished from the smaller dolphins and porpoises, having a fishlike body, forelimbs modified into flippers, and a head that is horizontally flattened.
- Informal. something big, great, or fine of its kind: I had a whale of a time in Europe.
- (initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Cetus.
- to engage in whaling or whale fishing.
Origin of whale1
- to hit, thrash, or beat soundly.
Origin of whale2
Examples from the Web for whale
The Dude is at his happiest when he has a few minutes of solitude and rest to get high and listen to whale sounds.Dudes and Maudes Abide at New York City Lebowski Fest
August 25, 2014
Japan is throwing its annual whale week again to celebrate its dubious commercial hunting of the endangered mammals.
Guests are also invited to try fried pieces of whale seasoned with curry powder.
Pharmaceutical company Ohta Isan has a product called Balenine Dash, which is made from whale and claims to give you energy.
The ministry pours an estimated 700 million yen (6.8 million dollars) into whale research per year.
The history of Jonah and the whale, I read at least twenty times.Ned Myers
James Fenimore Cooper
Of what being Progressive was she had no more notion than a whale.Alarms and Discursions
G. K. Chesterton
Will you kindly allow us to join your party when you go to see the whale to-morrow?My Double Life
"Very like a whale, if not like a codfish," said Miss Wayland, laughing heartily.The Green Satin Gown
Laura E. Richards
At Zierikzee, in Zeeland, a whale has been stranded by a high tide and a gale of wind.Albert Durer
T. Sturge Moore
- any of the larger cetacean mammals, excluding dolphins, porpoises, and narwhals. They have flippers, a streamlined body, and a horizontally flattened tail and breathe through a blowhole on the top of the headRelated adjective: cetacean
- any cetacean mammalSee also toothed whale, whalebone whale
- slang a gambler who has the capacity to win and lose large sums of money in a casino
- a whale of a informal an exceptionally large, fine, etc, example of a (person or thing)we had a whale of a time on holiday
- (tr) to beat or thrash soundly
Word Origin and History for whale
Old English hwæl, from Proto-Germanic *khwalaz (cf. Old Saxon hwal, Old Norse hvalr, hvalfiskr, Swedish val, Middle Dutch wal, walvisc, Dutch walvis, Old High German wal, German Wal); probably cognate with Latin squalus "a kind of large sea fish." Phrase whale of a "excellent or large example" is c.1900, student slang.
"beat, whip severely," 1790, possibly a variant of wale (v.).