One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A very large marine mammal with a streamlined hairless body, a horizontal tail fin, and a blowhole on top of the head for breathing.
Order Cetacea. See baleen whale and toothed whale
cetacean, leviathanView synonyms
- ‘How many harbours play host to everything from seahorses and frogfish to whales and dolphins?’
- ‘Up until quite recently we had no idea of the numbers and variety of the whales, dolphins and porpoises round our coast.’
- ‘By the Miocene, whales of both lineages are relatively common fossils in many marine deposits.’
- ‘They follow the breaking edge of the summer ice to hunt for seals, and are even known to attack beluga whales in the water.’
- ‘However, paleontology as a whole encompasses all life, from bacteria to whales.’
- ‘Scientists believe that now fewer than a hundred of the whales ply the waters near Alaska.’
- ‘We saw minke whales, hump backed whales, bald eagles, puffins and moose.’
- ‘Laboratory examinations of the heads of the whales showed trauma induced by sound.’
- ‘As many as four generations of whales live together in some of these matrilineal groups.’
- ‘We were told that whale sharks, whales and dolphins are abundant during the summer, between November and April.’
- ‘These whales have been hunted to near extinction, and only about 2,500 exist today.’
- ‘Acoustical energy generated by the bodies of whales or large schools of fish can be lower still.’
- ‘Orkney folk are being urged to keep a look out for whales, dolphins and porpoises this weekend.’
- ‘Sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters, porpoise and whales are common around the islands.’
- ‘It is our hope and prayer that the humpback and other whales will be protected in the West Indies and other parts of the world.’
- ‘Fur seals, elephant seals, and the great whales were all hunted to the brink of extinction.’
- ‘Native peoples are still allowed to hunt these whales for food.’
- ‘Marine mammals include narwhals, beluga whales, walrus, and ringed and bearded seals.’
- ‘Come face to face with polar bears, walruses, harbour seals and beluga whales.’
- ‘Dugongs are one of those sea creatures like porpoises and whales which should be completely protected by law.’
a whale of a —
informal An exceedingly good example of a particular thing.‘you've been doing a whale of a job’
have a whale of a time
Enjoy oneself very much.
- ‘Prize or no prize they seemed to have a whale of a time.’
- ‘Members of a local activity group had a whale of a time when they enjoyed their first scuba diving experience.’
- ‘He was having a whale of a time, laughing with his mates, and buying drinks for all of them.’
- ‘The children from Thorn Park School, a special school for deaf pupils, had a whale of a time - although wet weather confined them to the school hall.’
- ‘Principal of St. Joseph's, Vincent Kelly, is delighted with the dedication and willingness of the children, saying ‘they've done very well and they are having a whale of a time.’’
- ‘After a lesson in the basics from a qualified instructor, he was soon having a whale of a time.’
- ‘‘At an age when teenyboppers barely know how to party, here are two youngsters who are ensuring party-goers have a whale of a time,’ sighed one of the revellers, taking a break from the jig on the dance floor.’
- ‘They joined Ger's brothers in Sydney and had a whale of a time.’
- ‘It offers a social scene all of its own, complete with marquee on the Tarbert quayside: racers and spectators alike are guaranteed to have a whale of a time.’
- ‘By the end of the session she had all the teachers, old and young, jumping and yelling, twirling and growling in unison, having a whale of a time.’
Old English hwæl, of Germanic origin.
verbwhales[with object]North American
Beat; hit.‘Dad came upstairs and whaled me’no object ‘they whaled at the water with their paddles’
- ‘With that being said, I whaled the hilt off of her skull, and she fell practically lifeless.’
- ‘They whaled on Chapman before he could rise from his top bunk, shared with some 60 others in close barracks.’
- ‘He really whaled her, screaming and yelling and carrying on like a demented guy.’
- ‘I wondered why I should get whaled so, while Nerida, who was older, got off with a You-mustn't-do-that, darling.’
Late 18th century: variant of wale.
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