law of the tongue


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. (noun) An implicit agreement between whalers of Eden, Australia, and local orcas, in which the orcas would 'invite' whalers on a whale hunt, in exchange for dibs on the catch, primarily the whale's tongue.



The ‘law of the tongue’ came about upon early 20th century Australian whalers’ encounters with a killer whale they dubbed ‘Old Tom,’ thought to be the leader of a pod that helped the whalers by herding baleen whales. E.J. Brady’s ‘The Law of the Tongue: Whaling by Compact at Twofold Bay’ was published in 1909.