sperm whale

sperm whale
sperm whale 1830, shortening of spermaceti whale (so called because the waxy substance in its head was mistaken for sperm), from spermaceti (1471), from M.L. sperma ceti "sperm of a whale," from L. sperma (see SPERM (Cf. sperm)) + cetus "large sea animal" (see CETACEA (Cf. Cetacea)). The substance in olden times was credited with medicinal properties, as well as being used for candle oil.
Use ... Sperma Cete ana with redd Wyne when ye wax old. [Sir George Ripley, "The Compound of Alchemy," 1471]

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • Sperm whale — Sperm Whale[1] Size compared to an average human …   Wikipedia

  • Sperm whale — (Zo[ o]l.) A very large toothed whale ({Physeter macrocephalus}), having a head of enormous size. The upper jaw is destitute of teeth. In the upper part of the head, above the skull, there is a large cavity, or case, filled with oil and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Sperm whale — Sperm Sperm, n.[Contr. fr. spermaceti.] Spermaceti. [1913 Webster] {Sperm oil}, a fatty oil found as a liquid, with spermaceti, in the head cavities of the sperm whale. {Sperm whale}. (Zo[ o]l.) See in the Vocabulary. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sperm whale — sperm whales N COUNT A sperm whale is a large whale with a large head that has a section in it which contains oil …   English dictionary

  • sperm whale — sperm′ whale n. mam a large, square headed, toothed whale, Physeter catodon, having a cavity in the head that contains sperm oil and spermaceti • Etymology: 1825–35 …   From formal English to slang

  • sperm whale — n. any of a family (Physeteridae) of toothed whales; esp., a large species (Physeter catodon) inhabiting warm seas: a closed cavity in its roughly square head contains sperm oil …   English World dictionary

  • sperm whale — n a large ↑whale sometimes hunted for its oil and fat …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • sperm whale — sperm ,whale noun count a large WHALE that is sometimes hunted for its oil and fat …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • sperm whale — ► NOUN ▪ a toothed whale with a massive head, feeding at great depths largely on squid. ORIGIN abbreviation of SPERMACETI(Cf. ↑S) …   English terms dictionary

  • Sperm Whale — Taxobox name = Sperm WhaleMSW3 Cetacea | id=14300131 ] status = VU status system = iucn3.1 status ref = [IUCN2008|assessors=Taylor, B.L., Baird, R., Barlow, J., Dawson, S.M., Ford, J., Mead, J.G., Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., Wade, P. Pitman,… …   Wikipedia

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