Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

reef

play
noun \ˈrēf\

Definition of reef

  1. 1 :  a part of a sail taken in or let out in regulating size

  2. 2 :  reduction in sail area by reefing



Origin and Etymology of reef

Middle English riff, from Old Norse rif; probably akin to Old Norse rīfa to rend — more at rive


First Known Use: 14th century

Other Nautical Terms


2

reef

verb

Definition of reef

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to reduce the area of (a sail) by rolling or folding a portion

  3. 2 :  to lower or bring inboard (a spar) wholly or partially

  4. intransitive verb
  5. :  to reduce a sail by taking in a reef

reefable

play \ˈrē-fə-bəl\ adjective


1667

First Known Use of reef

1667

Other Nautical Terms


3

reef

noun

Definition of reef

  1. 1 a :  a chain of rocks or coral or a ridge of sand at or near the surface of water — compare atoll, barrier reef b :  a hazardous obstruction

  2. 2 :  lode, vein

reefy

play \ˈrē-fē\ adjective


Origin and Etymology of reef

Dutch rif, from Middle Dutch, from Old Norse, literally rib; akin to Old English ribb rib — more at rib


First Known Use: 1584

Other Oceanography Terms

Rhymes with reef



REEF Defined for Kids

reef

play
noun \ˈrēf\

Definition of reef for Students

  1. :  a chain of rocks or coral or a ridge of sand at or near the surface of water




Learn More about reef


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up reef? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a representation of something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

confounded-person

Which is a synonym of indolent?

lazy frenetic melancholy philistine
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ