from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Any of several large, toothed whales of the family Physeteridae, especially Physeter catodon or P. macrocephalus, of tropical and temperate oceans, whose massive head has a cavity containing sperm oil and spermaceti and whose long intestines often contain ambergris. Also called cachalot.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A whale (Physeter macrocephalus), the largest of the toothed whales.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. See in the Vocabulary.
- A very large toothed whale (Physeter macrocephalus), having a head of enormous size. The upper jaw is destitute of teeth. In the upper part of the head, above the skull, there is a large cavity, or case, filled with oil and spermaceti. This whale sometimes grows to the length of more than eighty feet. It is found in the warmer parts of all the oceans. Called also cachalot, and spermaceti whale.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The spermaceti-whale or cachalot, Physeter (or Catodon) macrocephalus, belonging to the family Physeteridæ (which see for technical characters; see also cut of skull under Physeter).
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. large whale with a large cavity in the head containing spermaceti and oil; also a source of ambergris
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Cetacean, for, although the sperm whale has a gullet sufficiently large to admit the body of a man, yet, it can hardly be the fish intended, as the natural food of Cetaceans consists of small animals, such as medusae and crustacea.