minke (n.)

type of small whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), 1939, supposedly from the Norwegian surname Meincke.

The name minke is said to have derived from one of Svend Foyn's crew by the name of Meincke, who mistook a school of these whales for blue whales. Whalers all over the world considered this incident so amusing that they used his name as a household word to describe this species. [J.N. Tønnessen & A.O. Johnsen, "The History of Modern Whaling" (transl. R.I. Christophersen), 1982]

Also known in English as the lesser rorqual and little piked whale.