cor·​al | \ˈkȯr-əl, ˈkär-\

Definition of coral 

1a : the calcareous or horny skeletal deposit produced by anthozoan or rarely hydrozoan polyps especially : a richly red precious coral secreted by a gorgonian (genus Corallium)

b : a polyp or polyp colony together with its membranes and skeleton

2 : a piece of coral and especially of red coral

3a : a bright reddish ovary (as of a lobster or scallop)

b : a deep pink

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Other Words from coral

coral adjective
coralloid \ˈkȯr-​ə-​ˌlȯid, ˈkär-​ \ adjective

Examples of coral in a Sentence

brightly colored fishes swimming among the coral

Recent Examples on the Web

Under the sea Reef is a competitive game for one to four players about constructing coral reefs to score points. Aaron Zimmerman, Ars Technica, "Abstract board games are all the rage—and Reef is the year’s best," 17 Nov. 2018 Ayana is taking steps to ensure that Flores doesn’t suffer the same fate as Bali, where environmental regulations were nonexistent as its popularity soared, leaving coral reefs decimated and some beaches littered with plastic. Sebastian Modak, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why Now Is the Time to Visit Flores, Indonesia," 16 Nov. 2018 Tongan hospitality is world renowned; your islands are stunningly beautiful offering tourists rugged coastlines, humpback whales and coral reefs. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Queen Elizabeth Just Honored Her Friend Queen Salote, Tonga's 6-Foot Queen Who Reigned for 48 Years," 25 Oct. 2018 In addition, biodiversity will plummet due to the number of species that will be eradicated by a half-degree increase in global temperatures, including the almost-certain destruction of most of the world’s coral reefs. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Cities have 15 months to reverse climate change, says new report," 8 Oct. 2018 And news flash: Hawaii banned all chemical sunscreens because the active ingredients are killing the coral. Janna Mandell,, "Summer skin-care solutions by microclimate," 12 July 2018 This algae gives the coral its purple and gold colors. Julia Belluz, Vox, "Hawaii is banning sunscreens that kill coral reefs," 2 July 2018 Evidence is in the blueberry bushes in Henry David Thoreau’s Walden Pond, the dwindling population of polar bears of the Arctic and the dying corals worldwide. Washington Post, "Looking for signs of global warming? It’s all around you," 19 June 2018 Evidence is in the blueberry bushes in Henry David Thoreau’s Walden Pond, the dwindling population of polar bears of the Arctic and the dying corals worldwide. Seth Borenstein,, "Looking for signs of global warming? They’re all around you," 19 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'coral.' 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 coral

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for coral

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin corallium, from Greek korallion

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Statistics for coral

Last Updated

25 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for coral

The first known use of coral was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for coral



English Language Learners Definition of coral

: a hard material formed on the bottom of the sea by the skeletons of small creatures

: an orange pink color


cor·​al | \ˈkȯr-əl \

Kids Definition of coral

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a tiny soft-bodied animal that typically lives within a stony skeleton grouped in large colonies and that is related to the jellyfish

2 : a piece of stony material consisting of the skeletons of corals

3 : a colony of corals coral reef

4 : a dark pink



Kids Definition of coral (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : made of coral a coral reef

2 : of a dark pink color

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More from Merriam-Webster on coral

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with coral

Spanish Central: Translation of coral

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

Comments on coral

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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