- a dark-colored baleen whale, Baleanoptera acutorostrata, inhabiting temperate and polar seas and growing to a length of 33 feet (10 meters): reduced in numbers.
Origin of minke
1930–35; < Norwegian minkehval, allegedly after a crew member of the Norwegian whaling pioneer Svend Foyn (1809–94), named Meincke, who mistook a pod of minkes for blue whales
Also called minke whale, lesser rorqual.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for minke
Like Bryde's whales, minke whales often approach close to vessels.
But minke whales have an acutely pointed snout, a single head ridge, and a white band on each flipper.
Further, minke whales rarely reach 30 feet (9.1 m) in maximum length.
Bryde's whales, like minke whales, reportedly often approach close to vessels as if curious about them.
However, minke whales have a flathead in front of their two blow holes and are black to dark gray on the back.
Word Origin and History for minke
type of small whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), 1939, supposedly from the Norwegian surname Meincke.
The name minke is said to have derived from one of Svend Foyn's crew by the name of Meincke, who mistook a school of these whales for blue whales. Whalers all over the world considered this incident so amusing that they used his name as a household word to describe this species. [J.N. Tønnessen & A.O. Johnsen, "The History of Modern Whaling" (transl. R.I. Christophersen), 1982]
Also known in English as the lesser rorqual and little piked whale.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper