Baleen Ba*leen" (b[.a]*l[=e]n"), n. [F. baleine whale and whalebone, L. balaena a whale; cf. Gr. fa`laina. ] (Zo["o]l. & Com.) Plates or blades of ``whalebone,'' from two to twelve feet long, and sometimes a foot wide, which in certain whales ({Bal[ae]noidea}) are attached side by side along the upper jaw, and form a fringelike sieve by which the food is retained in the mouth. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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  • Baleen — or whalebone is the means by which baleen whales feed. These whales do not have teeth, but instead have rows of baleen plates in the upper jaw ndash; flat, flexible plates with frayed edges, arranged in two parallel rows, looking like combs of… …   Wikipedia

  • baleen — [bə lēn′] n. [ME & OFr baleine < L ballaena < Gr phallaina, whale < phallos (see PHALLUS): so named from the shape of the whale] the horny, elastic plates that hang down in fringed, parallel columns from the upper jaw or palate of baleen …   English World dictionary

  • baleen — early 14c., whalebone, from O.Fr. balaine (12c.) whale, whalebone, from L. ballaena, from Gk. phallaina whale (apparently related to phallos swollen penis, probably because of a whale s shape), from PIE root *bhel (2) to blow, inflate, swell (see …   Etymology dictionary

  • baleen — ► NOUN ▪ whalebone. ORIGIN Latin balaena whale …   English terms dictionary

  • baleen — noun Etymology: Middle English baleine whale, baleen, from Latin balaena whale; akin to Greek phallaina whale Date: 14th century a horny keratinous substance found in two rows of transverse plates which hang down from the upper jaws of baleen… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • baleen — noun a) The plates in the mouth of the baleen whale, Mystacoceti, which it uses to trap its food; formerly used in corsetry b) a baleen whale Syn: whalebone …   Wiktionary

  • baleen — n. whalebone. Phrases and idioms: baleen whale any of various whales of the suborder Mysticeti, having plates of baleen fringed with bristles for straining plankton from the water. Etymology: ME f. OF baleine f. L balaena whale …   Useful english dictionary

  • baleen — /beuh leen /, n. whalebone (def. 1). [1275 1325; ME balene ( < AF baleine, beleine) < L bal(l)ena, var. of bal(l)aena whale < an unidentified language, also the source of Gk phál(l)aina whale; r. ME balayn < MF balaine whale(bone) < L, as above]… …   Universalium

  • Baleen — A whale; whale bone used in weapon making. [< Lat. balena = whale] Cf. Balinger; Baton1 …   Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases

  • baleen — n. whalebone …   English contemporary dictionary

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