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 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 The ancient village includes some of the oldest stone houses discovered on the Arabian Gulf; large amounts of turtle, dolphin, dugong and fish bones found at the site indicate its inhabitants were very familiar with the sea surrounding them. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "See the World’s Oldest Pearl, Soon to Go on View for the First Time," 23 Oct. 2019 Experts believe only 250 dugongs are left in Thai waters. Busaba Sivasomboon, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Thai marine biologist pleads for dugong conservation plan," 3 Oct. 2019 Thon Thamrongnawasawat said on his Facebook page that the carcass of a dugong was found Tuesday off the southern province of Krabi. Busaba Sivasomboon, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Thai marine biologist pleads for dugong conservation plan," 3 Oct. 2019 Most dugongs die because of humans, especially from their fishing equipment. Washington Post, "Young dugong dies in Thailand in blow for vulnerable species," 24 Aug. 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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Time Traveler for dugong

Time Traveler

The first known use of dugong was in 1800

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Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dugong.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dugong. Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on dugong

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dugong

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about dugong

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