1. A very large toothed whale (Physeter macrocephalus syn. P. catodon) formerly hunted for the spermaceti in its massive head and the ambergris in its intestines. Also called cachalot.
2. Either of two small toothed whales (Kogia breviceps or K. sima) also containing spermaceti in the head.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.