du·​gong | \ˈdü-ˌgäŋ, -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

Keep an eye out for dugong, a docile—but easily started—sea cow that delirious sailors of yore took for mermaids. WSJ, "The Best Beach Towns You’ve Never Heard Of," 20 Oct. 2017 Japanese officials said in 2012 the project would have no negative effect on the dugong, and U.S. officials reached the same conclusion two years later. Sudhin Thanawala, The Seattle Times, "Appeals court revives suit over US military base in Japan," 21 Aug. 2017 The remains were initially believed to belong to a manatee or a dugong, but a team from the municipal office of Cagdianao says the remains came from a whale that had been dead for two weeks. Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, "Mysterious "Hairy Blob" Washed Up on Philippines Beach," 27 Feb. 2017 The dugong, one of four species of sea cow in the order Sirenia, live throughout shallow waters of the Indo-Pacific. John Pickrell, National Geographic, "Sea Cow Baby Boom Is Good News for Great Barrier Reef," 31 May 2017

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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Du Gard






dug well

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Time Traveler for dugong

The first known use of dugong was in 1800

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dugong

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about dugong

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a nest or breeding place

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