see also: Whale
Pronunciation Noun

whale (plural whales)

  1. Any of several species of large sea mammals of the infraorder Cetacea.
  2. (figuratively) Something, or someone, that is very large.
    • 1920 September, “A Reformed Free Lance” (pseudonym), “Doctoring a Sick Encyclopedia”, in The Writer, Volume XXXII, Number 9, page 131 ↗:
      It was a whale of a job. […] It took two months, and the fair blush of youth off my cheeks.
    • 1947 May 19, John Chamberlain, “Will Clayton and his Problem”, in Life, page 120 ↗:
      But when it comes to his business life and business career, Will Clayton is not as other men; he is such a whale of a lot better that it suggests a qualitative as well as a quantitative difference.
  3. (figuratively) Something, or someone, that is excellent.
    • 2002, Kathleen Benson, Philip M. Kayal, Museum of the City of New York, A Community of Many Worlds: Arab Americans in New York City, Syracuse University Press ISBN 9780815607397, page 54
      My own father only wrote one poem in his life as far as I know, but it was a whale of a lyric, the kind you would give your whole life to write, which he did, but that is another story.
    • 2006, June Skinner Sawyers, Read the Beatles: Classic and New Writings on the Beatles, Their Legacy, and Why They Still Matter, Penguin ISBN 9781440649257
      Busley Crowther in The New York Times called it “a whale of a comedy” even though he couldn't tell the four musicians apart except for Ringo (“the big-nosed one”).
    • 2013, Fred Holtby & Chris Lovie, ROWDY - THE STORY OF A POLICE DOG, Lulu.com ISBN 9781291591651, page 105
      They were having a whale of a time when a very stern looking shop assistant came over to tell them off.
  4. (gambling) In a casino, a person who routinely bets at the maximum limit allowable.
  5. (finance, informal) An investor who deals with very large amounts of money.
  6. (video games, by extension) A video game player who spends large amounts of money on premium content.
Related terms Translations Verb

whale (whales, present participle whaling; past whaled, past participle whaled)

  1. (intransitive) To hunt for whales.

whale (whales, present participle whaling; past and past participle whaled)

  1. (slang, transitive) To thrash, to flog, to beat vigorously or soundly.
    • 1852, Thomas Chandler Haliburton, Why Mr Sellum disposed of the horse (chapter XIV in Works, volume 22):
      Brought him back, put him in the stall—low stable—got out of his reach, and then begun to whale him. Then he kicked up agin; […]
    • 1865 May, Three Days at Camp Douglass, in Our Young Folks: An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls, volume I, number V, page 296:
      "I wouldn't let him. When you were a boy in your part of the country, and other boys told tales about you, what did you do with them?" "Whaled 'em like time, Captin'," answered the man; "and if ye'll only shet yer eyes to 't, I'll whale him." "I can't allow such things in the prison," said the Captain; "and besides, the fellow will be lame for a fortnight, and wouldn't be a match for you in that condition. Let him get limber, and then, if you don't whale him, I'll make you walk the ladder for a month." The result was, the conscript officer received a sound thrashing; and did not commit another act worthy of punishment for a week.
    • 2004, Steve Frazee, Voices in the Hill (ISBN 9780843954845):
      They beat him down and kept whaling him after he was flat.

  1. Surname

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