- 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 BOLE (Cf. bole)). Klein writes that the Greek to Latin transition was "through the medium of the Illyrian language, a fact which explains the transition of Gk. -ph- into L. -b- (instead of -p-)."
Etymology dictionary. 2014.
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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 — 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… … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
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