atoll

noun
\ ˈa-ˌtȯl How to pronounce atoll (audio) , -ˌtäl, -ˌtōl, ˈā- How to pronounce atoll (audio) \

Definition of atoll

: a coral island consisting of a reef surrounding a lagoon

Illustration of atoll

Illustration of atoll

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Did You Know?

If you are lucky enough to sail south and west of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, you'll find the Maldives, a group of about 1,200 coral islands and sandbanks that form the Republic of Maldives. Many islands in that independent nation demonstrate the archetypal atoll, and geographers often use them to point out the characteristic features of such coral islands. Given how prevalent atolls are there, it isn't surprising that atoll comes from the name for that kind of island in Divehi, the official language of the Maldives.

Examples of atoll in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The monument surrounds and engulfs the village of Escalante, an atoll of private land in a public sea. Christopher Ketcham, Harper's magazine, "Ramblin’ Man," 24 June 2019 The dive took place off a coral atoll called St. Joseph in the outer islands of Seychelles on a mission to explore the Indian Ocean. David Keyton, The Seattle Times, "Off the Seychelles, a dive into a never-seen landscape," 13 Apr. 2019 The Marshall Islands is a collection of 29 atolls in the Pacific, and is home to around 70,000 people. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "To Save Themselves from Sea Level Rise, the Marshall Islands Want to Raise the Land," 26 Feb. 2019 Famed for its sandy white beaches and luxury resorts, the nation of islands and atolls in the southern Indian Ocean has seen economic growth and longer life expectancy under Yameen, according to the World Bank. Fox News, "Maldives' provisional elections results show opposition win," 24 Sep. 2018 Malaysia and Brunei are the other claimants to the chain of islands and barren islets and atolls. Jim Gomez, The Seattle Times, "Duterte: China should temper its behavior in disputed waters," 14 Aug. 2018 Observing the atoll with satellites, scientists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service discovered East Island completely inundated with water, rendering it a nearly invisible patchwork of sand. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "A Remote Hawaiian Island Disappeared Completely Following a Hurricane," 24 Oct. 2018 First came former president Barack Obama, who spent a month in 2017 tucked away from the world to write his memoir in the atoll of Tetiaroa, staying at The Brando. Cynthia Drescher, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why Everyone Is Suddenly Traveling to Tahiti," 9 Nov. 2018 The 11-acre East Island was part of the French Frigate Shoals—the largest atoll in the northwestern Hawaiian islands—and fell victim to Hurricane Walaka, which battered the state with Category 3 gales earlier this month. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "A Remote Hawaiian Island Disappeared Completely Following a Hurricane," 24 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'atoll.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of atoll

1625, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for atoll

Divehi (Indo-Aryan language of the Maldive Islands) atolu

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Dictionary Entries near atoll

Atokan

atoke

atole

atoll

atom

atomate

atom beam

Statistics for atoll

Last Updated

5 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for atoll

The first known use of atoll was in 1625

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More Definitions for atoll

atoll

noun

English Language Learners Definition of atoll

: an island that is made of coral and shaped like a ring

atoll

noun
\ ˈa-ˌtȯl How to pronounce atoll (audio) , -ˌtäl\

Kids Definition of atoll

: a ring-shaped coral island consisting of a coral reef surrounding a lagoon

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More from Merriam-Webster on atoll

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with atoll

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for atoll

Spanish Central: Translation of atoll

Nglish: Translation of atoll for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about atoll

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