- Bay of, an inlet of the Ross Sea, in Antarctica: location of Little America.
- 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.
- to engage in whaling or whale fishing.
Origin of whale1
- to hit, thrash, or beat soundly.
Origin of whale2
Examples from the Web for whales
According to the activists, at least one of the whales is female and goes by the name “Narnia.”Activists: Moscow Sea Park Is ‘Torturing’ Its Orca Whales
October 27, 2014
And this in turn affects the fish, whales, dolphins, turtles, dugongs and seabirds that live within the Reef.Australia Wants to Open the Great Barrier Reef to Dumping
June 2, 2014
From whales to ships to unlucky explorers, the Skeleton Coast has become the graveyard of many.Namibia’s Spooky Skeleton Coast
March 5, 2014
But which mammals are their closest relatives, and when did whales enter the seas?How Long Is a Year? Is the Earth Slowing Down? And Other Questions About Time
January 6, 2013
But the TARP did not just feed the whales of the American banking system.The Banks That Still Owe TARP
August 1, 2012
Thor caught two whales and carried them to the giant's house, as he had promised.Classic Myths
Mary Catherine Judd
I've been turnin' out another school of swordfish and whales, too.Shavings
Joseph C. Lincoln
It is so with earthquakes, cases of hydrophobia, whales stranded on the shore.Introduction to the Study of History
Charles V. Langlois
Then we ran close to the neighborhood of a school of whales, evidently feeding.Tales of Fishes
He did so, but he said that they were not whales; they were porpoises.Rollo on the Atlantic
- 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
- (tr) to beat or thrash soundly
Word Origin and History for whales
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.
"beat, whip severely," 1790, possibly a variant of wale (v.).