Dictionary.com

whale

1
[ weyl, hweyl ]
/ weɪl, ʰweɪl /
Save This Word!
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.
QUIZ
CUDDLE UP! A COZY QUIZ ON FALL WORDS HAS ARRIVED
If autumn is your ideal season, spice up your repertoire of "fall" vocabulary with this quiz on some warm and vivid descriptive words for the season.
Question 1 of 10
Which of the following words means “to make a crackling sound; crackle”?
Meet Grammar CoachWrite or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing
Meet Grammar CoachImprove Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help

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

Other definitions for whale (2 of 2)

whale2
[ weyl, hweyl ]
/ weɪl, ʰweɪl /

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

How to use whale in a sentence

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
FEEDBACK