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baleen

[buh-leen] /bəˈlin/
noun
1.
whalebone (def 1).
Origin
1275-1325
1275-1325; Middle English balene (< Anglo-French baleine, beleine) < Latin bal(l)ēna, variant of bal(l)aena whale < an unidentified language, also the source of Greek phál(l)aina whale; replacing Middle English balayn < Middle French balaine whale(bone) < Latin, as above
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for baleens

baleen

/bəˈliːn/
noun
1.
whalebone
Word Origin
C14: from Latin bālaena whale; related to Greek phalaina whale
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for baleens

baleen

n.

early 14c., "whalebone," from Old French balaine (12c.) "whale, whalebone," from Latin ballaena, from Greek phallaina "whale" (apparently related to phallos "swollen penis," probably because of a whale's shape), from PIE root *bhel- (2) "to blow, inflate, swell" (see bole). Klein writes that the Greek to Latin transition was "through the medium of the Illyrian language, a fact which explains the transition of Gk. -ph- into Latin -b- (instead of -p-)."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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baleens in Science
baleen
  (bə-lēn')   
A flexible horny substance hanging in fringed plates from the upper jaw of baleen whales. It is used to strain plankton from seawater when feeding. Also called whalebone.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for baleens

baleen

series of stiff keratinous plates in the mouths of baleen whales, used to strain plankton from seawater. Whalebone was once important in the production of corsets, brushes, and other goods

Learn more about baleen with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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