Meaning of baleen in English:


Pronunciation /bəˈliːn/

See synonyms for baleen on


mass noun
  • Whalebone.

    as modifier ‘the baleen plates of a Greenland right whale’
    • ‘The ‘whalebone’ whales have hundreds of baleen plates, up to twelve feet long, hanging down from their upper jaw.’
    • ‘These whales are distinguished from the toothed whales by having baleen, or whalebone, as part of the mouth structure.’
    • ‘Mirrored projections face each other, pulsing like an underwater shot of baleen, white tissue-like net moving in and out.’
    • ‘They feed by straining small marine organisms out of the water using plates of baleen, a hornlike substance that forms filaments that hang down from the roof of the mouth.’
    • ‘To the left is an upside down picture of a beached right whale showing the long baleen plates that hang from the upper jaw.’
    • ‘Their baleen plates have bristly inner edges that intertwine to form a strainer or filter.’
    • ‘Laboratory tests suggest that gray whale baleen, and possibly skin, may be resistant to damage by oil.’
    • ‘In Greenland, Japan and Norway whale meat is sold in supermarkets, in Russia it has been sold to feed fur-bearers, and in Alaska baleen handicrafts from bowheads are sold to tourists.’
    • ‘One species of whales developed baleen, rows of keratin plates similar to hair that filter out food from the sea.’
    • ‘Their baleen consists of 260-400 black, coarse, broad, overlapping plates hanging from each side of the upper jaw.’
    • ‘Different species have different density and coarseness of baleen due to their different food sources.’
    • ‘To achieve greater power, massive ‘composite’ laths made from sinew, horn or baleen, and wood came into use; these were shorter and much stiffer than earlier wood laths.’
    • ‘They are baleen whales; rather than hunt, they filter their prey, krill and small sea organisms, through the sieve-like baleen screen in their mouths.’
    • ‘The microstructure of these long filaments of papillary horn is very similar in its dermal-epidermal interdigitation to that of baleen in whales.’
    • ‘And the behemoths contain tremendous amounts of oil and baleen, once commercially lucrative products.’
    • ‘The right and left baleen rows are separated in the front of the mouth.’
    • ‘Its front edge was bordered by a sort of storage box of stone, which contained a small vessel made of sewn baleen and wood.’
    • ‘Most commonly, humpbacks are solitary diners, eating a diet of krill - a shrimp-like crustacean - and plankton, which they filter through hundreds of sieve-like plates called a baleen.’
    • ‘In its mouth, this whale has unusually few of the baleen plates that such whales use to filter food from the water.’
    • ‘The whales were commercially hunted for their oil and baleen beginning in the 1800s - the baleen being popular for making corsets, umbrellas, and fishing rods.’


Middle English (also denoting a whale): from Old French baleine, from Latin balaena ‘whale’.