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[hweyl-bohn, weyl-] /ˈʰweɪlˌboʊn, ˈweɪl-/
an elastic, horny substance growing in place of teeth in the upper jaw of certain whales, and forming a series of thin, parallel plates on each side of the palate; baleen.
a thin strip of this substance, for stiffening a corset.
Origin of whalebone
First recorded in 1175-1225; whale1 + bone Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for whalebone
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In the south, too, hoop iron or whalebone is used for runner shoeing.

    The Long Labrador Trail Dillon Wallace
  • A touch of the whalebone and she would balk—stop dead in her stride.

    Garrison's Finish W. B. M. Ferguson
  • From it we get the whalebone, oil and also a fertilizer to help our farm crops to grow.

    Where We Live Emilie Van Beil Jacobs
  • Name's Mervin; all whipcord and whalebone; springy as a bent bow.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service
  • The quality of the whalebone also differs in the different species.

    On the Origin of Species Charles Darwin
  • whalebone is very fibrous or stringy, and it splits very readily.

  • But Miss Parker struck Nancy with a piece of whalebone, and hurt her a good deal.

    Little Prudy Sophie May
  • Lestiboudois went about the church with his whalebone stick.

    Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
  • No tight lacing; no casing in whalebone—nothing like a hoop.

    The Hour and the Man Harriet Martineau
British Dictionary definitions for whalebone


Also called baleen. a horny elastic material forming a series of numerous thin plates that hang from the upper jaw on either side of the palate in the toothless (whalebone) whales and strain plankton from water entering the mouth
a thin strip of this substance, used in stiffening corsets, bodices, etc
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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