1. an air or gas vent, especially one to carry off fumes from a tunnel, underground passage, etc.
  2. either of two nostrils or spiracles, or a single one, at the top of the head in whales and other cetaceans, through which they breathe.
  3. a hole in the ice to which whales or seals come to breathe.
  4. Metallurgy. a defect in a casting or ingot caused by the escape of gas.
  5. Geology. a hole in a sea cliff or coastal terrace through which columns of spray are jetted upward.

Origin of blowhole

First recorded in 1685–95; blow2 + hole Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for blowhole

Historical Examples of blowhole

British Dictionary definitions for blowhole


  1. the nostril, paired or single, of whales, situated far back on the skull
  2. a hole in ice through which whales, seals, etc, breathe
    1. a vent for air or gas, esp to release fumes from a tunnel, passage, etc
    2. NZa hole emitting gas or steam in a volcanic region
  3. a bubble-like defect in an ingot resulting from gas being trapped during solidification
  4. geology a hole in a cliff top leading to a sea cave through which air is forced by the action of the sea
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

Word Origin and History for blowhole

also blow-hole, 1787, of whales and porpoises, from blow (v.1) + hole.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper