from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The form of whalers' harpoon now in general use, having a movable blade instead of fixed barbs; the instrument used in first striking a whale (when explosives are not employed), for fastening it to the whale-boat by means of a tow-line, so that the boat may be hauled up to the whale, and the latter be killed by hand-lancing at close quarters, or by bomb-lancing at longer range.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • American whalemen never said harpoon, but toggle-iron, never 'There she blows' — because how can you tell a whale's sex from a spout on the horizon? — but 'there blows' or just 'Blo-o-ows.'

    Outside the Whale


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