AskDefine | Define whaler

The Collaborative Dictionary

Whaler \Whal"er\, n. A vessel or person employed in the whale fishery. [1913 Webster]
Whaler \Whal"er\, n. One who whales, or beats; a big, strong fellow; hence, anything of great or unusual size. [Colloq. U. S.] [1913 Webster]

Word Net



1 a seaman who works on a ship that hunts whales
2 a ship engaged in whale fishing [syn: whaling ship]

Moby Thesaurus

AB, Ancient Mariner, Argonaut, Dylan, Flying Dutchman, Neptune, OD, Poseidon, Varuna, able seaman, able-bodied seaman, angler, bluejacket, buccaneer, deep-sea man, dibber, dibbler, drift netter, drifter, fair-weather sailor, fisher, fisherman, guddler, hearty, jack, jack afloat, jack-tar, jacker, jacky, jigger, limey, lobsterman, mariner, matelot, navigator, pirate, piscator, piscatorialist, piscatorian, privateer, sailor, salt, sea dog, sea rover, seafarer, seafaring man, seaman, shipman, tar, the compleat angler, trawler, troller, viking, water dog, windjammer, windsailor



  • (UK): /ˈweɪlə/, /"weIl@/
  • (US): , /ˈweɪlɚ/, /"weIl@`/
Rhymes with: -eɪlə(r)



  1. A vessel or person employed in the whale fishery.
    • 1863: Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, Sylvia's Lovers, v. - But o' Thursday t' Resolution, first whaler back this season, came in port.
    • 1890: Century Illustrated Magazine, XL, 511 - For a whaler's wife to have been "'round the Cape" half a dozen times, or even more, was nothing extraordinary.
  2. One who whales, or beats; a big, strong fellow; hence, anything of great or unusual size, a whopper, a whacker.
  3. name given in Sydney to the shark Carcharias brachyurus Günth.
  4. (Australian slang): a sundowner; one who cruises about.
    1893: Sydney Morning Herald, Aug. 12, 1893 - the nomad, "the whaler," it is who will find the new order hostile to his vested interest of doing nothing.


person or vessel involved in the industry


  • E. E. Morris, Australian English, 1898
For other uses see whalers.
A whaler is a specialized kind of ship, designed for processing and/or catching whales. The former included such vessels as the sail or steam-driven whaleship of the 16th to early 20th century and the floating factory or factory ship of the modern era. The latter included the whale catcher, a steam or diesel-driven vessel with a harpoon gun mounted at its bows. There were also vessels that combined the two, such as Bottlenose whalers of the late 19th and early 20th century and catcher/factory ships of the modern era.
Whaleships had two or more whaleboats, open rowing boats used in the capture of whales. Whaleboats brought the captured whales to the whaleships to be flensed or cut up. Here the blubber was rendered into oil using two or three try-pots set in a brick furnace called the tryworks.
At first, whale catchers either brought the whales they killed to a whaling station or factory ship anchored in a sheltered bay or inlet. Later, with the development of the stern slipway, whale catchers brought their catch to factory ships operating in the open sea.
The very successful World War II Flower Class corvettes were based on the design of the whale catcher Southern Pride.

See also

whaler in German: Walfänger
whaler in Modern Greek (1453-): Φαλαινοθηρικό
whaler in French: Baleinier
whaler in Icelandic: Hvalveiðiskip
whaler in Japanese: 捕鯨船
whaler in Dutch: Vangschip
whaler in Norwegian: Hvalbåt
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