\ 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

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 About 18,000 Marines stormed the atoll, which had been fortified by the Japanese, but their landing craft hit reefs far from shore, and the Marines had to wade in through withering machine gun fire. New York Times, 11 June 2022 The ban's impact is already noticeable in areas such as Lighthouse Reef, an atoll off the mainland, says Graham. Nell Lewis; Video By Stefanie Blendis, CNN, 30 June 2022 With a noticeable juvenile manta ray population in the atoll's Maamunagau Lagoon, the resort works with Manta Trust researchers to aid in the education and conservation of these giant, playful fish and their habitat. Katie Lockhart, CNN, 11 July 2022 Like every atoll, Peros Banhos is the rim of an extinct volcano, this one about 10 miles in diameter. Cullen Murphy, The Atlantic, 15 June 2022 But between 2019 and 2021, MarAlliance recorded a 10-fold increase in shark populations at the atoll. Nell Lewis; Video By Stefanie Blendis, CNN, 30 June 2022 The resort is located in the remote Gaafu Alifu atoll, renowned for its rich variety of marine life. Sandra Ramani, Robb Report, 7 May 2022 The archipelago encompasses the largest coral atoll structure on the planet—the Great Chagos Bank. Cullen Murphy, The Atlantic, 15 June 2022 This atoll, home to hundreds of people, was where scientists first tested the hydrogen bomb in 1952. Hart Rapaport, Scientific American, 4 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

19 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Atoll.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for atoll


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on atoll

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for atoll

Nglish: Translation of atoll for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about atoll


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