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right whale

noun

  1. any of several large whalebone whales of the genus Balaena, of circumpolar seas: the species B. glacialis is greatly reduced in numbers.


right whale

noun

  1. any large whalebone whale of the family Balaenidae. They are grey or black, have a large head, and, in most, no dorsal fin, and are hunted as a source of whalebone and oil See also bowhead


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Word History and Origins

Origin of right whale1

First recorded in 1715–25; allegedly so called because it was the “right” whale to hunt, alluding to its relative buoyancy when killed, proximity to land, the value of its blubber, etc.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of right whale1

C19: perhaps so named because it was right for hunting

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Example Sentences

In analyzing 50 years of data, researchers studying southern right whale population dynamics have discovered a concerning link between these whale populations and El Niño events.

Previous research shows that El Niño years affect krill populations, a main food source for southern right whales.

After returning to shore, I will send an email to Robert Harcourt, a scientist working on southern right whales, to ask his theories as to why humpbacks perform these vigorous leaps.

Global effort to understand climate change impactsGlobally, southern right whales in South Africa and Argentina have bred less often over the past decade, leading to a lower population growth rate in Argentina.

One in every five times the right whales surfaced to inhale, seawater covered their open blowholes.

The largest of the Cetacea is the Right whale, of which—so persistently is it hunted down—there will soon be but few Left.

The Right whale, though many people make Light of it, is unquestionably the heaviest of living creatures.

The right whale has an immense tongue, and lives by suction, the food being a kind of small shrimp.

Two of these, the bowhead or Greenland whale, and its more widely distributed close relative the right whale, are baleen whales.

Black right whale, Biscayan right whale, Biscay whale, Nordcaper right whale.

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