du·​gong | \ ˈdü-ˌgäŋ How to pronounce dugong (audio) , -ˌgȯŋ \
plural dugongs also dugong

Definition of dugong

: an aquatic, herbivorous, usually brownish-gray mammal (Dugong dugon) that inhabits warm coastal waters chiefly of southern Asia, Australia, and eastern Africa and resembles the related manatee but differs in having a notched tail divided into two lobes and upper incisors which grow into small tusks in the male

Note: The dugong commonly attains a length of 8 feet (2.4 meters) or more. It is the sole living species in its taxonomic family (Dugongidae) which also includes the extinct Steller's sea cow and various sirenians known only from fossilized remains.

Illustration of dugong

Illustration of dugong

Examples of dugong in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Last year a record number of dead dugongs were found in Thai waters. USA TODAY, "Coronavirus travel restrictions in Thailand allow shy wildlife to emerge," 23 Apr. 2020 Last year a record number of dead dugongs were found in Thai waters. NBC News, "Thailand's tourist drought leaves space for shy sea mammal," 23 Apr. 2020 For example, contributors to Eye on the Reef are more likely to record the spectacular (whale sharks, dugongs and humpback whales) than the common (starfish). Jessica Wynne Lockhart, Smithsonian, "Massive Citizen Science Effort Seeks to Survey the Entire Great Barrier Reef," 17 Oct. 2019 The last remaining dugong live in the very bay where the United States is developing its new base. Daniel Wolfe, Quartz, "Relocation of US base in Okinawa threatens marine life and now costs double its initial budget," 27 Dec. 2019 People also deliberately hunt dugongs for their meat. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Friendly Baby Dugong Becomes Conservation Symbol in Thailand," 3 July 2019 Opponents also say the relocation plan should be scrapped for environmental reasons because the site is a habitat for dugongs and corals. BostonGlobe.com, "Most of the additional cost and time is required to stabilize and strengthen reclaimed land off the coast of Henoko that will be used for runways, the ministry said. It presented its new estimate to a panel of Japanese experts discussing the relocation plans.," 26 Dec. 2019 Northern sea otters—along with polar bears, Pacific walruses, manatees, and dugongs—are protected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). Michael R. Shea, Field & Stream, "Are Sea Otters the Next Wolves?," 11 Dec. 2019 This French territory, in the heart of the Coral Sea, is home to more than 9,300 marine species, including dugongs, manta rays, and venomous sea snakes. BostonGlobe.com, "You're using a browser set to private or incognito mode.," 1 Dec. 2019

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

1800, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for dugong

New Latin, genus name, probably from dugung in Cebuano or a related Austronesian language of the central Philippines

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Cite this Entry

“Dugong.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dugong. Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about dugong

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