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

But if punchy pinks and corals aren't your thing, a few staffers also make a strong case for summer darks and neutrals with a kick. Lindsay Schallon, Glamour, "12 Nail Colors You'll Want on Your Toes All Summer," 5 July 2018 Pale coral with a graphic cube and starburst print, the piece made a statement but didn’t overwhelm the outfit. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Vanessa Paradis and Lily-Rose Depp Share a Chic Mother-Daughter Moment at Chanel," 3 July 2018 These custom sneakers coordinate with three of the beauty brand's most coveted lip colors: Crème d’Nude (a peachy neutral), Lady Danger (a coral-red hue), and Sin (a deep berry shade). Tiffany Dodson, SELF, "Thank You, Puma x MAC for Giving Me Sneakers and Lipstick That Match," 17 May 2018 One of Burnham’s favorite projects in the exhibit is MARS, or Modular Artificial Reef Structure, a project in Melbourne, Australia seeking to replenish Pacific coral systems. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "NatureStructure looks at how engineers and architects can work with, rather than against, the natural world.," 11 May 2018 The aquarium is home to grey reef shark, nurse sharks, blacktip reef shark and a group of baby coral catsharks, a recent addition. Dewayne Bevil,, "Sea Life Orlando marks Shark Month with 'sharkfie' opportunities," 9 July 2018 Nearly a third of the reef’s coral were killed, and the damage radically altered its mix of coral species, scientists said. Jacqueline Williams, New York Times, "Great Barrier Reef Imperiled as Heat Worsens Die-Offs, Experts Say," 4 July 2018 The Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Australia, has already been irreparably changed by climate change, with half of its corals killed by back-to-back bleaching events between 2015 and 2017. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "How the Belize Barrier Reef Beat the Endangered List," 28 June 2018 Part of the road is on the region's coral ridge, more than 20 feet above sea level, but a steep drop leaves the other half nearly flush with the bay. Alex Harris And Joey Flechas, miamiherald, "This Miami street could be the blueprint for how the city handles sea level rise," 28 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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Phrases Related to coral

coral reef

Statistics for coral

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

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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Comments on coral

What made you want to look up coral? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the setting in which something occurs

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