whale

1
[hweyl, weyl]

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.

Origin of whale

1
before 900; Middle English; Old English hwæl; cognate with German Wal- in Walfisch, Old Norse hvalr; perhaps akin to Latin squalus kind of fish
Can be confusedwail whale

whale

2
[hweyl, weyl]

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. 2019


Examples from the Web for whaled

Historical Examples of whaled

  • I whaled Dan good when he brought that piece back from school.

    "Captains Courageous"

    Rudyard Kipling

  • We've whaled all the chaff out of the old straw, but it doesn't do any good.

    The Lash

    Olin L. Lyman

  • The Dutch also whaled with long ropes, as is now our method.

  • I could have whaled it to them all right now, but a shell jammed.

    Plain Mary Smith

    Henry Wallace Phillips

  • Take your hat off to that chechacko who has just whaled you blind.

    The Yukon Trail

    William MacLeod Raine


British Dictionary definitions for whaled

whale

1

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

whale

2

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

Word Origin and History for whaled

whale

n.

Old English hwæl, from Proto-Germanic *khwalaz (cf. Old Saxon hwal, Old Norse hvalr, hvalfiskr, Swedish val, Middle Dutch wal, walvisc, Dutch walvis, Old High German wal, German Wal); probably cognate with Latin squalus "a kind of large sea fish." Phrase whale of a "excellent or large example" is c.1900, student slang.

whale

v.

"beat, whip severely," 1790, possibly a variant of wale (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper