Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An Arctic whale (Monodon monoceros) that has a spotted pelt and is characterized in the male by a long spirally twisted ivory tusk projecting from the left side of its head.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An Arctic cetacean, about 20 feet (6 meters) long; the male has a single twisted pointed canine tooth or tusk projecting forward like a horn.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An arctic cetacean (Monodon monocerous), about twenty feet long. The male usually has one long, twisted, pointed canine tooth, or tusk, projecting forward from the upper jaw like a horn, whence it is called also sea unicorn, unicorn fish, and unicorn whale. Sometimes two horns are developed, side by side.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A cetacean, Monodon monoceros, of the family Delphinidræ and the subfamily Delphinapterinæ; the sea-unicorn, unicorn-whale, or unicorn-fish.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. small Arctic whale the male having a long spiral ivory tusk

Etymologies

Norwegian or Danish narhval, from Old Norse nāhvalr : nār, corpse (from its whitish color) + hvalr, whale.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Dutch narwal or Danish narhval, from Old Norse náhvalr, from nár ("corpse") + hvalr ("whale"). Compare Icelandic náhvalur. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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Comments

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  • The word narwhal always reminds me of the Pablo Neruda poem "Los Enigmas" which is quoted (sort of... in English...) toward the end of the movie Mindwalk:

    You question me about the wicked tusk of the narwhal,
    and I respond by describing to you
    how the sea unicorn with a harpoon in it dies.


    (Here's a link from YouTube).

    May 15, 2010

  • Oh, right, it's narwhals that eat fairies. Got it.

    December 12, 2009

  • blessing seems a bit wish-unicorns-were-real wistful while tusking came from someone's toddler at bedtime story.

    November 6, 2009

  • From googling, it appears that "pod" is the more common term for narwhals. As with all of the exhaltation of larks, these are highly subjective and people like us are constantly coming up with new ones. All it takes (especially with the internet) is for someone to come up with a good one and have the meme catch on.

    November 6, 2009

  • "Freebase the Magic Narwhal."

    September 3, 2008

  • Glad you appreciated my little pun, rt.

    August 28, 2008

  • Rolig: Nar-do-whal is what I always think of when I hear this word! Haha!

    August 28, 2008

  • The narwhal revenge toys are great, I actually saw those at the store the other day...

    August 28, 2008

  • Whallets? Really?!

    August 28, 2008

  • By the way, I found those items on my coworker's desk today.

    August 28, 2008

  • Sad about what happened to this poor creature's cousin, the nar-do-whal, in and out of prison, spawning little whals (whallets?) all over the ocean without providing any support… Eventually he developed a serious planktoning problem, but refused to get any help for it.

    August 28, 2008

  • I'm having the freakiest deja vus lately. Didn't we have this very conversation somewhere, complete with links? I could have sworn it was on the narwhal page, but apparently not. *is freaked out, goes to check bacon*

    August 28, 2008

  • Archie! You have to love that site.

    Well, you don't, really, but I do. :-)

    August 27, 2008

  • OK, now have a look at this, and this, and this.

    August 27, 2008

  • Oh man they totally are whale-unicorns. Also they eat fairies. Did you know?

    April 21, 2007

  • ken loves narwhals. i think they are some sort of mutant whale-unicorn breed designed to take over the world.

    January 30, 2007