One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A baleen whale of streamlined appearance with pleated skin on the underside.
Family Balaenopteridae: two genera and six species, including the common rorqual (or fin whale)
- ‘Fairly secretive visitors among the larger rorquals are the fin whale and its slightly smaller cousin, the sei whale.’
- ‘The harpoon guns were mounted on fast steam-driven vessels, making it possible to catch the faster-swimming rorquals (blue, fin, Sei, and Minke whales).’
- ‘The research shows that rorquals, commonly referred to as Bryde's whales, actually represent three distinct species.’
- ‘Like rorquals, gray whales are migratory species.’
- ‘When the supply of rorquals on their side of the ocean seemed to be running low, the Norwegians crossed the ocean to Newfoundland…’
Early 19th century: via French from Norwegian røyrkval, from Old Norse reythr, the specific name, + hvalr ‘whale’.
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