whale

1
[ hweyl, weyl ]
/ ʰweɪl, weɪl /
See synonyms for: whale / whaled / whaling on Thesaurus.com

noun, plural whales, (especially collectively) whale.

any of the larger marine mammals of the order Cetacea, especially as distinguished from the smaller dolphins and porpoises, having a fishlike body, forelimbs modified into flippers, and a head that is horizontally flattened.
Informal. something big, great, or fine of its kind: I had a whale of a time in Europe.
(initial capital letter)Astronomy. the constellation Cetus.

verb (used without object), whaled, whal·ing.

to engage in whaling or whale fishing.
Digital Technology. to phish by posing as a company’s attorney, CEO, vendor, or other authorized entity in order to scam a payroll department, corporate executive, etc., out of money or confidential information: When she demonstrated her project, “How to Whale and Make Millions,” they didn’t know whether to award her or arrest her!Compare spear phish.

verb (used with object), whaled, whal·ing.

Digital Technology. to make (a company’s employee or department) a phishing victim by posing as an entity authorized to procure money or confidential information from the company: Before proving he had been whaled, the marketing VP was subjected to much scrutiny and suspicion.

QUIZZES

DISCOVER THE INFLUENCE OF PORTUGUESE ON ENGLISH VIA THIS QUIZ!

We’ve gathered some interesting words donated to English from Portuguese … as well as some that just don’t translate at all. Do you know what they mean?
Question 1 of 11
Which of the following animal names traces its immediate origin to Portuguese?

Origin of whale

1
First recorded before 900; Middle English; Old English hwæl; cognate with German Wal- in Walfisch, Old Norse hvalr; akin to Latin squalus kind of fish; 2005–10 for defs. 5, 6 (from the victim being considered a “big fish/phish”)

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH whale

wail, whale

Definition for whale (2 of 2)

whale2
[ hweyl, weyl ]
/ ʰweɪl, weɪl /

verb, whaled, whal·ing,

to hit, thrash, or beat soundly.

Origin of whale

2
First recorded in 1780–90; origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for whale

British Dictionary definitions for whale (1 of 2)

whale1
/ (weɪl) /

noun plural whales or whale

any of the larger cetacean mammals, excluding dolphins, porpoises, and narwhals. They have flippers, a streamlined body, and a horizontally flattened tail and breathe through a blowhole on the top of the headRelated adjective: cetacean
any cetacean mammalSee also toothed whale, whalebone whale
slang a gambler who has the capacity to win and lose large sums of money in a casino
a whale of a informal an exceptionally large, fine, etc, example of a (person or thing)we had a whale of a time on holiday

Word Origin for whale

Old English hwæl; related to Old Saxon, Old High German hwal, Old Norse hvalr, Latin squalus seapig

British Dictionary definitions for whale (2 of 2)

whale2
/ (weɪl) /

verb

(tr) to beat or thrash soundly

Word Origin for whale

C18: variant of wale 1
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