al·​cy·​o·​nar·​ian ˌal-sē-ə-ˈner-ē-ən How to pronounce alcyonarian (audio)
: any of a subclass (Alcyonaria) of colonial anthozoans (such as the sea pens) having polyps with eight branched tentacles and eight septa

Word History


ultimately from Greek alkyoneion, a zoophyte, from neuter of alkyoneios of a kingfisher, from alkyon kingfisher; from its resemblance to a kingfisher's nest

First Known Use

1861, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of alcyonarian was in 1861

Dictionary Entries Near alcyonarian

Cite this Entry

“Alcyonarian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

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