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[buh-leen] /bəˈlin/
whalebone (def 1).
Origin of baleen
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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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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
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Word Origin and History for baleen

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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baleen in Science
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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