What does cetacea mean?

Definitions for cetacea

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word cetacea.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. Cetacea, order Cetaceanoun

    an order of Eutheria


  1. Cetacea

    Cetacea (; from Latin cetus 'whale', from Ancient Greek κῆτος (kêtos) 'huge fish, sea monster') is an infraorder of aquatic mammals that includes whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Key characteristics are their fully aquatic lifestyle, streamlined body shape, often large size and exclusively carnivorous diet. They propel themselves through the water with powerful up-and-down movement of their tail which ends in a paddle-like fluke, using their flipper-shaped forelimbs to maneuver.While the majority of cetaceans live in marine environments, a small number exclusively reside in brackish water or fresh water. Having a cosmopolitan distribution, they can be found in some rivers and all of Earth's oceans, and many species inhabit vast ranges where they migrate with the changing of the seasons. Cetaceans are famous for their high intelligence and complex social behaviour as well as for the enormous size of some of the group's members, such as the blue whale which reaches a maximum confirmed length of 29.9 meters (98 feet) and a weight of 173 tonnes (190 short tons), making it the largest animal known ever to have existed.There are approximately 89 living species split into two parvorders: Odontoceti or toothed whales (containing porpoises, dolphins, other predatory whales like the beluga and the sperm whale, and the poorly understood beaked whales) and the filter feeding Mysticeti or baleen whales (which includes species like the blue whale, the humpback whale and the bowhead whale). Despite their highly modified bodies and carnivorous lifestyle, genetic and fossil evidence places cetaceans as nested within even-toed ungulates, most closely related to hippopotamus within the clade Whippomorpha. Cetaceans have been extensively hunted for their meat, blubber and oil by commercial operations. Although the International Whaling Commission has agreed on putting a halt to commercial whaling, whale hunting is still going on, either under IWC quotas to assist the subsistence of Arctic native people or in the name of scientific research, although a large spectrum of non-lethal methods are now available to study marine mammals in the wild. Cetaceans also face severe environmental hazards from underwater noise pollution, entanglement in abandoned ropes and nets, collisions with ships, plastic and heavy metals build-up, to accelerating climate change, but how much they are affected varies widely from species to species, from minimally in the case of the southern bottlenose whale to the baiji (or Chinese river dolphin) which is considered to be functionally extinct due to human activity.


  1. cetacea

    Cetacea is a scientific order of large aquatic mammals that includes whales, dolphins, and porpoises. They are characterized by having streamlined bodies adapted for fast swimming, a horizontal tail fin, and nasal openings on top of their heads for breathing. Cetaceans are fully adapted to aquatic life and are unable to survive on land. They are also known for their advanced intelligence and complex social structures.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Cetacea

    an order of marine mammals, including the whales. Like ordinary mammals they breathe by means of lungs, and bring forth living young which they suckle for some time. The anterior limbs are changed to paddles; the tail flukes are horizontal. There are two living suborders:

  2. Etymology: [NL., from L. cetus whale, Gr. .]


  1. Cetacea

    The order Cetacea includes the marine mammals commonly known as whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Cetus is Latin and is used in biological names to mean "whale"; its original meaning, "large sea animal", was more general. It comes from Ancient Greek κῆτος, meaning "whale" or "any huge fish or sea monster". In Greek mythology, the monster Perseus defeated was called Ceto, which is depicted by the constellation of Cetus. Cetology is the branch of marine science associated with the study of cetaceans. Fossil evidence suggests that cetaceans share a common ancestor with land-dwelling mammals that began living in marine environments around 50 million years ago. Today, they are the mammals best adapted to aquatic life. The body of a cetacean is fusiform. The forelimbs are modified into flippers. The tiny hindlimbs are vestigial; they do not attach to the backbone and are hidden within the body. The tail has horizontal flukes. Cetaceans are nearly hairless, and are insulated from the cooler water they inhabit by a thick layer of blubber. Some species are noted for their high intelligence. At the 2012 meeting in Vancouver, Canada, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, support was reiterated for a cetacean bill of rights, listing cetaceans as "non-human persons".

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Cetacea

    se-tā′shi-a, n.pl. an order of mammals of aquatic habit and fish-like form, including the Toothed whales, or Odontoceti, and the Baleen whales, or Mystacoceti. To the former belong the Sperm whales, the Bottlenose, the genus Platanista and its allies, and the great family of Dolphins; to the latter, the Right Whale (Balæna), the Humpbacks, and the Rorquals.—n. Cetā′cean.—adj. Cetā′ceous.—n. Cetol′ogy, that part of zoology which treats of whales. [L.,—Gr. kētos, any sea-monster.]

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Cetacea

    An order of wholly aquatic MAMMALS occurring in all the OCEANS and adjoining seas of the world, as well as in certain river systems. They feed generally on FISHES, cephalopods, and crustaceans. Most are gregarious and most have a relatively long period of parental care and maturation. Included are DOLPHINS; PORPOISES; and WHALES. (From Walker's Mammals of the World, 5th ed, pp969-70)

Editors Contribution

  1. cetacea

    A variety of aquatic mammal.

    Dolphins and whales are sometimes classed as cetacea.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 16, 2017  

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of cetacea in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of cetacea in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

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"cetacea." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 25 Sep. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/cetacea>.

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    a protective covering (as for a knife or sword)
    • A. evangelist
    • B. sweep
    • C. sheath
    • D. ignominy

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