belonging to the Cetacea, an order of aquatic, chiefly marine mammals, including the whales and dolphins.
Origin of cetacean
1830–40;Related formsce·ta·ceous, adjective
< New Latin Cetace(a
) name of the order (see cet-
) + -an
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
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Historical Examples of cetacean
British Dictionary definitions for cetacean
adjective Also: cetaceous
of, relating to, or belonging to the Cetacea, an order of aquatic placental mammals having no hind limbs and a blowhole for breathing: includes toothed whales (dolphins, porpoises, etc) and whalebone whales (rorquals, right whales, etc)
Word Origin for cetacean
C19: from New Latin Cētācea, ultimately from Latin cētus whale, from Greek kētos
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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Word Origin and History for cetacean
1836, from Cetacea, name of the order of marine mammals, + -an. As an adjective from 1839.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Any of various, often very large aquatic mammals of the order Cetacea, having a hairless body that resembles that of a fish. Cetaceans have an elongated skull, a flat, horizontal tail, forelimbs modified into broad flippers, and no hind limbs. They breathe through blowholes located usually at the top of the skull. Whales, dolphins, and porpoises are cetaceans. See more at baleen whale toothed whale.
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