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[hweyl-bohn, weyl-] /ˈʰweɪlˌboʊn, ˈweɪl-/
an elastic, horny substance growing in place of teeth in the upper jaw of certain whales, and forming a series of thin, parallel plates on each side of the palate; baleen.
a thin strip of this substance, for stiffening a corset.
Origin of whalebone
1175-1225; whale1 + bone Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for whalebone
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then Egil examined the bed, and found a piece of whalebone with runes on it.

  • Lestiboudois went about the church with his whalebone stick.

    Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
  • whalebone purfling has been frequently used, particularly by the old Amsterdam makers.

    The Violin George Hart
  • So I made her a tail of whalebone and India-rubber and yarn.

    A British Islander Mary Hartwell Catherwood
  • Then into the hollow goes the whalebone, so, tightly coiled, and another piece of blubber is fitted over the whale-bone.

    Love of Life Jack London
  • The purfling is of whalebone, like that of most of the Dutch makers.

    The Violin George Hart
  • By a violent twist of every whalebone muscle, Tam whirled himself sidewise.

    Buff: A Collie and other dog-stories Albert Payson Terhune
  • Then came the fins, and after them the upper jaw, with the whalebone attached to it.

    Fighting the Whales R. M. Ballantyne
  • It is for this and the whalebone that this animal is deemed so valuable, and for which it is so much sought by whalefishers.

British Dictionary definitions for whalebone


Also called baleen. a horny elastic material forming a series of numerous thin plates that hang from the upper jaw on either side of the palate in the toothless (whalebone) whales and strain plankton from water entering the mouth
a thin strip of this substance, used in stiffening corsets, bodices, etc
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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