whale on

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

See whale (strike or hit vigorously).

Verb[edit]

whale on

  1. (slang) To strike an opponent heavily and repeatedly in a fight.
    • 1962, Norman Mailer, The Death of Benny Paret:
      If he had been able to break loose from his handlers and the referee, he would have jumped Paret to the floor and whaled on him there.
    • 2000, Joseph Di Prisco, Confessions of Brother Eli, page 320:
      Philip was whaling on O, who was whaling on Slater, who was whaling on Genesius, who was whaling on Philip. Blood, spittle, and curses were flying.
    • 2014, Jack Hart, Skookum Summer: A Novel of the Pacific Northwest[1], page 278:
      “Big sumbitch,” Don Dykes said. “Took a fuckin' ax handle to me. Just whaled on my fuckin' ass.”
  2. (slang) To beat heavily on anything.
    The wrench wouldn’t budge, even though Tony was just whaling on it with a big old sledge hammer.
    • 1999, Stephen King, Bag of Bones[2]:
      Standing at the front, wearing a guitar and whaling on it as she sang, was Sara Tidwell.
    • 2012, Nora Roberts, The Last Boyfriend[3], page 71:
      Jaw tight, Ryder picked up his hammer, set a framing nail, and whaled on it.
    • 2014, Chris Fabry, The Song[4]:
      Now he couldn't get enough of playing his father's music on a CD and whaling on the drum set Jed had bought him at one of those warehouse club stores

Alternative forms[edit]

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