Definition of bowhead in English:


(also bowhead whale)


  • An Arctic right whale with black skin, feeding by skimming the surface for plankton.

    Also called Greenland right whale
    • ‘In Greenland, Japan and Norway whale meat is sold in supermarkets, in Russia it has been sold to feed fur-bearers, and in Alaska baleen handicrafts from bowheads are sold to tourists.’
    • ‘Like all whales, bowheads are sensitive creatures and getting into the water with one must be done with caution-from the whale's standpoint, not just the diver's.’
    • ‘Weighing upward of 60 tons and reaching lengths up to 50 feet, the bowhead whale is one of the Arctic's great mysteries.’
    • ‘The study places the Eastern Arctic bowhead whale, Western arctic bowhead whale and the Eastern Hudson Bay beluga whale on the list of species facing imminent extinction.’
    • ‘One of the world's lesser known whales, the bowhead lives exclusively north of the Arctic Circle, spending four months or more of the year in complete darkness.’
    • ‘Some of the species found here include the walrus, polar bear, beluga, narwhal, bearded seals, harp seal, harbour seal, ringed seal, bowhead whale, ivory gull, and some migratory birds.’
    • ‘Shrills, squeaks and groans made by the excited bowheads reverberate through my body.’
    • ‘The three bears had been tearing into remnants of a bowhead whale, recently caught by the villagers on an authorized hunt.’
    • ‘Formerly hunters of Pacific sperm whale, these whaling fleets came to Arctic regions following the bowhead whale migration to the Beaufort Sea for summer feeding.’
    • ‘Probably the first thing concerned citizens think of when the word ‘endangered’ pops up is an animal: the California condor, the giant panda, the bowhead whale, the leatherback sea turtle.’
    • ‘The proposal appears to apply in principle to virtually any species except bowheads and blue whales, though in practice I think the government is more interested in assessing stocks of fins, humpbacks, pilot whales and several dolphins.’
    • ‘These 39 species include the eastern and western Arctic bowhead whale and beluga whale populations in Ungava Bay, southeast Baffin Island-Cumberland Sound, and eastern Hudson Bay.’
    • ‘As his graphite stylus slid back and forth across the paper, images emerged: a bowhead whale, several reindeer, a bear and bear tracks.’
    • ‘One unusual discovery in Norway's Svalbard Islands was a bowhead whale hanging fifty feet above the water, its belly still embedded in the melting glacier that had encased it during the Little Ice Age.’
    • ‘Hence, if there were intervals when the Davis Strait stock of bowheads ranged into the Arctic Ocean, they ought to have seasonally migrated through Norwegian Bay and Eureka Sound.’
    • ‘A preliminary glossary of Inuktitut words relating to bowheads, whaling, and related topics has been prepared, but it is not included in the book, as it awaits verification by Inuit elders.’
    • ‘We don't have fruits and vegetables, but the bowhead has minerals and vitamins that provide the nutritional requirements needed to live in the Arctic environment.’
    • ‘The tusked narwhal, white beluga whales and elusive bowhead whale all live off the northern part of this island.’
    • ‘There is no indication that temperate and subtropical large whale species live as long as bowheads.’
    • ‘The Point Hope dancers performed short solo and duet pieces, dressed in white (for snow) and black (for the bowhead whale, which forms the base of their economy).’


Late 19th century: from bow + head.