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A drawing of a narwhal
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Alternative forms[edit]


From Dutch narwal or Danish/Norwegian Bokmål narhval, from Old Norse náhvalr, from nár (corpse) + hvalr (whale). Compare Icelandic náhvalur.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈnɑːʍəl/, /ˈnɑːwəl/, /ˈnɑːˌʍeɪl/, /ˈnɑːˌweɪl/
    • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈnɑɹʍəl/, /ˈnɑɹwəl/, /ˈnɑɹˌʍeɪl/, /ˈnɑɹˌweɪl/, /ˈnɑɹʍɔl/, /ˈnɑɹwɔl/, /ˈnɑɹʍɑl/, /ˈnɑɹwɑl/


narwhal (plural narwhals or narwhal)

  1. Monodon monoceros, an Arctic cetacean that grows to about 20 feet (6 meters) long, the male having a single horn-like tusk, a twisted, pointed canine tooth that projects forward.
    Synonym: sea unicorn
    • 1986, D. E. Sergeant, “Chapter 16: Sea Mammals”, in I. P. Martini, editor, Canadian Inland Seas[1], page 337:
      Moreover, both narwhals and bowheads can occur in late summer in southern Prince Regent Inlet (coming from Lancaster Sound) and may reach Fury and Hecla Strait and northern Foxe Basin.
    • 1988, Tristan Jones, Somewheres East of Suez[2]:
      Often, in the morning, narwhals played around the boat and reminded me of the dolphins, so far away in the North Atlantic. But these narwhals were not like the Atlantic sea-dogs; they had little of their flashing vibrancy; these Turkish narwhals were much more relaxed, and rolled over lazily, with a sigh, as if they were going to retire to a sofa and smoke a hookah.
    • 2000, Richard C. Connor, Andrew J. Read, Richard Wrangham, edited by Janet Mann, Cetacean Societies: Field Studies of Dolphins and Whales[3], 10: Male Reproductive Strategies and Social Bonds, page 247:
      At over 2.5 m in length, the tusk of the male narwhal (Monodon monoceros) is one the most impressive instruments of male-male competition among mammals.

Derived terms[edit]




From English narwhal, from Old Norse náhvalr.


narwhal m (genitive singular narwhal)

  1. narwhal
    Synonym: whale feeacklagh