Definition of orca in English:



  • A large toothed whale with distinctive black-and-white markings and a prominent dorsal fin. It lives in groups that cooperatively hunt fish, seals, and penguins.

    Also called killer whale

    Orcinus orca, family Delphinidae

    ‘Since 1976, whale expert Ken Balcomb has led what is perhaps the longest running study on killer whales, or orcas.’
    • ‘If you look at dolphins, orcas, and blue whales, all fully aquatic animals, you would have a hard time imagining them walking on land.’
    • ‘That forced orcas, or killer whales, which normally feed on seals and sea lions, to approach the coast and eat the sea otters.’
    • ‘Most common are bears, orcas, sea lions, seals, otters, eagles, terns and cormorants.’
    • ‘Sharks have not displayed the intelligence that dolphins, orcas or even whales have.’
    • ‘Five river dolphin species and 34 oceanic species have been identified, including the orca and melon-headed and pilot whales.’
    • ‘We take cups of coffee onto the deck to view humpback whales and pods of orcas.’
    • ‘Salmon is critical to the diets of grizzly bears and orcas, the researcher stated.’
    • ‘The release of 195 decibels into this key waterway used by orcas, porpoises, seals, and other marine mammals was followed by an increase in strandings.’
    • ‘Adult orcas have been seen encouraging their young, pushing them onto a ‘practice’ beach where no seals are present.’
    • ‘But Balcomb said he is fighting, nonetheless, to prove that sonar is dangerous to orcas too.’
    • ‘Unlike other mammals, newborn dolphins and orcas stay active 24/7 during first months of development’
    • ‘Once those prey dwindled, orcas would settle for the smaller fur seals and aggressive sea lions.’
    • ‘The area is home to orcas, dolphins, and a wealth of other marine mammals and birds.’
    • ‘The orcas prey on the indigenous Californian sea lions, which are permanent residents off the smaller islands such as Los Islotes, off the remotest corner of Espiritu Santo.’
    • ‘The prime suspect is a predator new to the otter: the orca.’
    • ‘Then potential menace turned to pure joy as two more orcas joined the first and together they porpoised toward the setting sun.’
    • ‘We jump aboard and head out full-throttle until we see a pod of orcas running down a Pacific white-sided dolphin.’
    • ‘The orcas - like those made famous by the film Free Willy - usually move in large family pods around the North Atlantic, visiting America, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Scotland on their long trek.’
    • ‘‘When the salmon go, the eagles will go, and the orcas will, too,’ Gammon cautions.’



/ˈôrkə/ /ˈɔrkə/


Mid 17th century from Latin, denoting a kind of whale.