cor·​al | \ ˈkȯr-əl How to pronounce coral (audio) , 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 How to pronounce coralloid (audio) , ˈkär-​ \ adjective

Examples of coral in a Sentence

brightly colored fishes swimming among the coral

Recent Examples on the Web

The Sundance award-winning film follows a team of divers, photographers and scientists on an adventure to capture why warming ocean water is causing coral reefs to vanish. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Women’s club serves meal at Ronald McDonald House," 3 July 2019 Marine landing craft got stuck on coral reefs during low tide, and the men had to slog their way to the beach under heavy gunfire. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Remains of 30 Service Members Killed in WWII Unearthed at Tarawa," 28 June 2019 Our initial findings offer both concern and hope for the future of coral reefs. Cody Clements, The Conversation, "Biodiversity helps coral reefs thrive – and could be part of strategies to save them," 25 June 2019 The scenic route past iridescent coral reefs gives travelers a taste of what’s to come when visiting Heron Island. Anne Farrar, National Geographic, "You can now hail an Uber to the Great Barrier Reef," 19 June 2019 Fiji is home to just over 900,000 people and is a popular tourist destination thanks to its warm climate, white sand beaches and coral reefs. Elizabeth Llorente, Fox News, "When dream vacations turn into tragedies: Many deaths at popular resorts remain mysteries," 12 June 2019 The vessels aren’t ideal for the South China Sea, with its narrow shipping lanes hemmed in by shallow waters and coral reefs. David Pierson,, "Military spending is soaring in the Asia-Pacific region. Here’s why," 7 June 2019 And for good reason: the UN panel on climate change stated that the world must shift its energy usage in the next decade, or risk catastrophic events such as the endangerment of coral reefs, drought, famine, and wildfires. Tatum Dooley, Teen Vogue, "Central Saint Martins Announces New Sustainable Fashion Program Focused on Biodesign," 5 June 2019 Supernova explosions could obliterate Earth’s ozone layer, for instance, which would wreak havoc on marine plankton and coral reefs. Quanta Magazine, "How Nearby Stellar Explosions Could Have Killed Off Large Animals," 15 Jan. 2019

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

8 Jul 2019

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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 How to pronounce coral (audio) \

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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