right whale

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From right + whale; from 1725.
The originally intended sense of right is unknown. Folk etymology states that, for various reasons, they were the "right" whales to hunt.

Noun[edit]

right whale (plural right whales)

  1. Any of certain baleen whales of the family Balaenidae, in the genera Eubalaena (three species) and Balaena (one species, the bowhead whale, also called the Greenland right whale).

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