Simple Definition of pelagic
: relating to or living in the sea far from the shore
Full Definition of pelagic
: of, relating to, or living or occurring in the open sea : oceanic <pelagic sediment> <pelagic birds>
Examples of pelagic in a sentence
<among pelagic animals the undisputed king is the blue whale, the largest creature currently roaming the face of the earth>
<at one time pelagic whaling was the cornerstone of the island's economy>
Did You Know?
Pelagic comes to us from Greek, via Latin. The Greek word pelagikos became "pelagicus" in Latin and then "pelagic" in English. ("Pelagikos" is derived from "pelagos," the Greek word for "sea," plus the adjectival suffix -ikos.) "Pelagic" first showed up in dictionaries in 1656; a definition from that time says that Pelagick meant "of the Sea, or that liveth in the Sea." A full 350 years later, writers are still using "pelagic" with the same meaning, albeit less frequently than its more familiar synonym "oceanic."
Origin of pelagic
Latin pelagicus, from Greek pelagikos, from pelagos sea — more at plagal
First Known Use: circa 1656
Rhymes with pelagic
Learn More about pelagic
Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for "pelagic"
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up pelagic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).