• pelagic
  • audio pronunciation
  • \puh-LAJ-ik\
  • DEFINITION

adjective

: of, relating to, or living or occurring in the open sea : oceanic
  • EXAMPLES

She is studying to become a marine biologist specializing in pelagic plant life.

"During this time we also have the seasonal migration of pelagic fish from the northern Gulf waters to the Key West area." — Sam O'Briant, The News-Press (Fort Myers, Florida), September 21, 2014

  • 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 the sea—it is also a source of archipelago—plus the adjectival suffix -ikos.) Pelagic first showed up in dictionaries in 1656; a definition from that time says that Pelagick (as it was then spelled) meant "of the Sea, or that liveth in the Sea." Over 350 years later, writers are still using pelagic with the same meaning, albeit less frequently than its more familiar synonym oceanic.

Test Your Vocabulary: Unscramble the letters to create a word meaning "taking place or located in the open air": SFEOLACR. The answer is …

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