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

In 2016 alone—the hottest year on record globally—67% of corals died along the northernmost 700 kilometers of the reef. Katie Langin, Science | AAAS, "The Great Barrier Reef has had five near-death experiences in the past 30,000 years," 28 May 2018 The Rose Powder singles currently come in four hues: Romantic Rose, a medium mauve; Blossomtime Rose, a light petal pink; Tea Rose, a vibrant bubblegum; and Coral Cave, a nearly neon shade of coral. Macaela Mackenzie, Allure, "Milani's Viral Rose Powder Blush Now Comes in a Palette With New Shades," 7 May 2018 Previous laboratory experiments had estimated the calcification sensitivity of corals to be between 15 and 28 percent. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Part of the Great Barrier Reef exposed to more CO₂; results are grim," 16 Mar. 2018 Pink hues in the grapefruit rind in particular, invite the playful use of coral in the metal seating and in the subtle trim on the Dot and Army napkins. Jennifer Fernandez, ELLE Decor, "A Simple Centerpiece Is The Secret To This Lush Spring Table," 27 Apr. 2017 In August 2016, when the two met in a final, in coral-grinding barrels at Teahupoo, Tahiti, Slater did everything but take Florence over his knee for a fatherly spanking on the way to an easy win. Matt Warshaw, Outside Online, "The Dominance of Kelly Slater," 5 July 2018 This year the crystal-watered, coral-reefed island was named the world’s hottest destination by TripAdvisor, a travel website. The Economist, "Tourists are arriving faster than Japan can accommodate them," 7 June 2018 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 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

14 Oct 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).


to reject or criticize sharply

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