atoll

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noun \ˈa-ˌtȯl, -ˌtäl, -ˌtōl, ˈā-\

Definition of atoll

  1. :  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

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.

Illustration of atoll

Origin and Etymology of atoll

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


First Known Use: 1625


ATOLL Defined for English Language Learners

atoll

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noun

Definition of atoll for English Language Learners

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


ATOLL Defined for Kids

atoll

play
noun \ˈa-ˌtȯl, -ˌtäl\

Definition of atoll for Students

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



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