• synonyms


[hweyl-bohn, weyl-]
  1. an elastic, horny substance growing in place of teeth in the upper jaw of certain whales, and forming a series of thin, parallel plates on each side of the palate; baleen.
  2. a thin strip of this substance, for stiffening a corset.
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Origin of whalebone

First recorded in 1175–1225; whale1 + bone
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for whalebone

Contemporary Examples of whalebone

Historical Examples of whalebone

  • In the south, too, hoop iron or whalebone is used for runner shoeing.

  • A touch of the whalebone and she would balk—stop dead in her stride.

    Garrison's Finish

    W. B. M. Ferguson

  • From it we get the whalebone, oil and also a fertilizer to help our farm crops to grow.

    Where We Live

    Emilie Van Beil Jacobs

  • Name's Mervin; all whipcord and whalebone; springy as a bent bow.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service

  • The quality of the whalebone also differs in the different species.

British Dictionary definitions for whalebone


  1. Also called: baleen a horny elastic material forming a series of numerous thin plates that hang from the upper jaw on either side of the palate in the toothless (whalebone) whales and strain plankton from water entering the mouth
  2. a thin strip of this substance, used in stiffening corsets, bodices, etc
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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