the horny, elastic plates that hang down in fringed, parallel columns from the upper jaw or palate of baleen whales and serve as a strainer that catches plankton while a whale is feeding; whalebone
Origin of baleenMiddle English and amp; Old French baleine ; from Classical Latin ballaena ; from Classical Greek phallaina, whale ; from phallos (see phallus): so named from the shape of the whale
Origin of baleenMiddle English balene, from Old French baleine, from Latin balaena, whale, from Greek phallaina, phalaina; see bhel-2 in Indo-European roots.
(countable and uncountable, plural baleens)
From Old French baleine (“whale, whalebone”), from Latin balaena (“whale”), from Ancient Greek φάλαινα (phalaina, “whale”).