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[ming-kee] /ˈmɪŋ ki/
a dark-colored baleen whale, Baleanoptera acutorostrata, inhabiting temperate and polar seas and growing to a length of 33 feet (10 meters): reduced in numbers.
Also called minke whale, lesser rorqual.
Origin of minke
1930-35; < Norwegian minkehval, allegedly after a crew member of the Norwegian whaling pioneer Svend Foyn (1809-94), named Meincke, who mistook a pod of minkes for blue whales Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for minke
  • Animals that eat zooplankton, such as herring and minke whales, would increase in number.
  • Finback and minke whales appear first, followed by humpback whales in midsummer.
  • The small, wedge-shaped minke whales are relatively plentiful.
  • Engines idled, cameras snapped and the lone minke whale dove deep and disappeared.
  • By day's end, six minke and seven humpbacks had been sighted with successful biopsies obtained from one minke and three humpbacks.
Word Origin and History for minke

type of small whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), 1939, supposedly from the Norwegian surname Meincke.

The name minke is said to have derived from one of Svend Foyn's crew by the name of Meincke, who mistook a school of these whales for blue whales. Whalers all over the world considered this incident so amusing that they used his name as a household word to describe this species. [J.N. Tønnessen & A.O. Johnsen, "The History of Modern Whaling" (transl. R.I. Christophersen), 1982]
Also known in English as the lesser rorqual and little piked whale.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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