April 18, 2022

Blubber /blub·ber / noun

Definition: Blubber is a descriptive noun that we use both formally and informally. The formal definition of “blubber” is maritime-based terminology that describes the excessive fat of sea mammals like whales and seals. Blubber is the thick layer of fat that is present under the skin of most sea mammals.

This thick fat layer is an adipose tissue that can be several feet thick and cover almost the entire body of sea mammals under their top layer of skin. Blubber serves to heat, store energy and provides insulation for sea mammals that can live in icy ocean waters with frigid temperatures.

When used in its informal sense, we use the word blubber as a verbal insult to compare a person’s size or weight to that of a blubbery sea mammal that can weigh thousands of pounds. We also use “blubber” in a second informal sense to represent someone who is crying uncontrollably.

Etymology: Etymologists say the word “blubber” may have originated from the now obsolete term ‘blabber’, which means swollen. The term was first recorded in Late Middle English around the 14th century. They used the term to denote bubbles, seafoam, or bubbling waves. “Blubber” has taken on a different connotation since its original introduction. We use the term in a formal sense to describe the protective layer of fat of sea mammals and as a derogatory term to negatively describe a person’s weight.

In a Sentence

The pageant winner was blubbering uncontrollably for hours after she won first place.

Whales are often illegally poached for their blubber.

His blubbery appearance made the man look unkempt.


Fat, Fatty Tissue


Thin, Composed


What is whale blubber used for? (click all that apply)

Correct! Wrong!

Whale blubber is sold for use as cooking oil for foods and for cosmetics.

How thick is the blubber of sea mammals?

Correct! Wrong!

The blubber of sea mammals can be several feet thick and weigh hundreds of pounds.

What is blubber in animals?

Correct! Wrong!

Sea animals store blubber directly under their skin as a protective layer of adipose tissue.

True or False: Blubber can be used as a verb and a noun.

Correct! Wrong!

True. We can use the word blubber as a noun to describe animal fat and an informal verb.

What does it mean when someone is "blubbering"?

Correct! Wrong!

A person said to be blubbering is crying uncontrollably.

Today's Quiz


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