Re: Meaning of "baleine"

From: Howard Garrett (
Date: Mon Nov 15 2004 - 23:25:57 EST

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    I would like to know where the word "baleine" (french of "whale") comes from
    ? or what is the etymology of the word "baleine". i read that it is coming
    from the grek "phallaina" but what does it mean ?

    Thanks a lot for your answer !

    Josiane Cabana

    I found this at

    c.1325, "whalebone," from O.Fr. balaine "whale, whalebone," from L.
    ballaena, from Gk. phallaina "whale," related to phallos "swollen penis,"
    probably because of a whale's shape, from PIE base *bhel- "to swell" (see
    bole). Klein writes that the Gk. to L. transition was "through the medium
    of the Illyrian language, a fact which explains the transition of Gk. -ph-
    into L. -b- (instead of -p-)."

    Howard Garrett
    Orca Network
    Greenbank WA
    (360) 678-3451

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