Variant of whale
- any member of either of two orders (Mysticeta and Odontoceta) of aquatic mammals that breathe air, bear live young, and have front limbs that have been modified into flippers, and a flat, horizontal tail
- any of the larger members of these two groups, excluding the porpoises and dolphins (except for the killer whale)
Origin: Middle English whal from Old English hwæl, akin to Old High German hwal, Old Norse hvalr, Middle Dutch wal from Indo-European base an unverified form (s)kwalos, a large fish from source Classical Latin squalus, big sea fish
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.