From Old French baleine (“whale, whalebone”), from Latin balaena (“whale”), from Ancient Greek φάλαινα (phálaina, “whale”).
baleen (countable and uncountable, plural baleens)
- (physiology, uncountable) The bony material that makes up the plates in the mouth of the baleen whale, Mysticeti, which it uses to trap its food; formerly used in corsetry
1954, Alexander Alderson, chapter 5, in The Subtle Minotaur: “You have probably never seen anything like this before, Mr. Toler. It is baleen, or if you prefer it, whalebone, taken from the mouth of the bowhead whale. It is used by the whale to filter its food.”
- (zoology, countable) a baleen whale
plates in mouth of baleen whale