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 Sharks, whales, rays, turtles, dolphins, and even the rare dugong swim these stunning seas alongside 2,000 fish species. Melanie Van Zyl, Travel + Leisure, 16 May 2021 An orchid, a baobab tree, a dugong, an orangutan, even at some future point the trace lines of a mycelial network––all of these should hold money. J.m. Ledgard, Wired, 12 May 2021 Last year a record number of dead dugongs were found in Thai waters. USA TODAY, 23 Apr. 2020 Last year a record number of dead dugongs were found in Thai waters. NBC News, 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, 17 Oct. 2019 The last remaining dugong live in the very bay where the United States is developing its new base. Daniel Wolfe, Quartz, 27 Dec. 2019 People also deliberately hunt dugongs for their meat. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, 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, 26 Dec. 2019 See More

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.

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 25 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on dugong

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about dugong


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