Definition of atoll
: a coral island consisting of a reef surrounding a lagoon
atoll was our Word of the Day on 06/25/2008. Hear the podcast!
Recent Examples of atoll from the Web
In late May 1942, a large Japanese fleet was steaming toward the U.S. sea and air bases on Midway atoll, located about 1,300 miles (2,092 kilometers) northwest of Honolulu.
The commemoration will include a live broadcast of a memorial service on Midway atoll, where survivors of the battle will lay a wreath and participants will observe a moment of silence.
The string of islands and tiny atolls was the site of more than 65 nuclear tests during the Cold War.
The plan was to draw the American air carriers to the atoll and ambush them.
Tucked into a humid corner of Central America, Belize rises from Caribbean coral, cayes, and atolls in the east, to coastal wetlands and savannas, and finally to upland pine forests and river valleys in the west.
Makin: Again, the Imperial Army versus the Marines, in a nighttime battle in a Pacific outpost, on the Makin atoll.
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.
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.
Origin and Etymology of atoll
Divehi (Indo-Aryan language of the Maldive Islands) atolu
First Known Use: 1625
ATOLL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of atoll for English Language Learners
: an island that is made of coral and shaped like a ring
ATOLL Defined for Kids
Definition of atoll for Students
: a ring-shaped coral island consisting of a coral reef surrounding a lagoon
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