noun \ˈkr-əl, ˈkär-\

: a hard material formed on the bottom of the sea by the skeletons of small creatures

: an orange pink color

Full Definition of CORAL

a :  the calcareous or horny skeletal deposit produced by anthozoan or rarely hydrozoan polyps; especially :  a richly red precious coral secreted by a gorgonian (genus Corallium)
b :  a polyp or polyp colony together with its membranes and skeleton
:  a piece of coral and especially of red coral
a :  a bright reddish ovary (as of a lobster or scallop)
b :  a deep pink
coral adjective
cor·al·loid \-ə-ˌlid\ adjective

Examples of CORAL

  1. brightly colored fishes swimming among the coral

Origin of CORAL

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin corallium, from Greek korallion
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Invertebrates (Except Insects) Terms

anemone, cephalopod, quahog


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Soft coral (Sarcophyton)—Jack McKenney/Tom Stack & Associates

Any of about 2,300 species of marine cnidarians in the class Anthozoa that are characterized by stonelike, horny, or leathery skeletons (external or internal). The skeletons of these animals are also called coral. Corals are found in warm seas worldwide. The body is of the polyp type. Soft, horny, and blue corals are colonial in habit (i.e., they live in large groups). Stony corals, the most familiar and widely distributed forms, are both colonial and solitary. Atolls and coral reefs, which are composed of stony coral, grow at an average rate of 0.2–1.1 in. (0.5–2.8 cm) per year. See also sea fan.


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