Definitions

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

  • n. A very large whalebone whale (Balaenoptera musculus) having a bluish-gray back, yellow underparts, and several ventral throat grooves. It is considered the largest living animal, sometimes reaching a length of 30.5 meters (100 feet). Also called sulphur-bottom.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A whale (Balaenoptera musculus), blue in color and the largest known living animal.

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

  • n. largest mammal ever known; bluish-grey migratory whalebone whale mostly of southern hemisphere

Etymologies

Sorry, no etymologies found.

Examples

  • An unexpected beat on a snare drum made a French horn splutter out a belching sound, and in the back of the band something big emitted a snort, one that made Lisa think of a blue whale that had just surfaced after a week underwater.

    Bubble in the Bathtub

Comments

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  • Oh, well, I don't know which kind of blue whales you usually meet...

    April 24, 2008

  • Come to think of it, blue whales do look a little mousy.

    Mussels, not so much.

    April 19, 2008

  • It's interesting to note that the blue whale and the house mouse share the specific name musculus (binomial names are respectively Balænoptera musculus and Mus musculus). Both names were chosen by Linnæus (Carl von Linné) in the XVIII century.
    The word is a diminutive of Latin mus (mouse), so there is no need for explanation for using it for the house mouse. But what about blue whales?
    The explanation relies on the fact that, in Latin, musculus also means muscle; and this is the meaning it has in the blue whale's scientific name.
    Apparently, in the past, ...the shape and movement of some muscles (notably biceps) were thought to resemble mice... (From: Online Etymology Dictionary).
    What is also interesting is that the same double meaning/common root is present in other languages: Greek, Armenian, German, Arabic.

    April 17, 2008