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right whale

noun
1.
any of several large whalebone whales of the genus Balaena, of circumpolar seas: the species B. glacialis is greatly reduced in numbers.
Origin
1715-1725
1715-25; allegedly so called because it was the “right” whale to hunt, alluding to its relative buoyancy when killed, proximity to land, the value of its blubber, etc.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for right whale
  • Get lucky and you will see a right whale, an endangered mammal that lives in the region's waters.
  • When a ship and a northern right whale collide, the whale loses.
  • Both the gray whale off of our west coast and the right whale off of our east coast were hunted to the verge of extinction.
British Dictionary definitions for right whale

right whale

noun
1.
any large whalebone whale of the family Balaenidae. They are grey or black, have a large head, and, in most, no dorsal fin, and are hunted as a source of whalebone and oil See also bowhead
Word Origin
C19: perhaps so named because it was right for hunting
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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