plural noun

fo·​ra·​mi·​nif·​era fə-ˌra-mə-ˈni-f(ə-)rə How to pronounce foraminifera (audio)
: organisms that are foraminifers

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web This three-mile stretch of smooth sand — whose pink hue comes from the seashells of microscopic organisms called foraminifera — ranges from 50 to 100 feet wide depending on the tide. Noelle Khalila Nicolls, Travel + Leisure, 3 Apr. 2023 Everything’s a little rosier in Bermuda — and that’s not just because of the red foraminifera organisms that turn the sand pink. Skye Sherman, Travel + Leisure, 26 Mar. 2023 Scientists probed equatorial cold-tongue biases, and blamed the difficulty of predicting El Niño’s North American Januaries on Tibet, where large foraminifera were found to have been more vulnerable than small ones during the extinction pulses of the early Jurassic. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper's Magazine, 27 Oct. 2020 Goff and other researchers also look for microscopic marine organisms like diatoms and foraminifera, ancient DNA from marine life, changes to geochemistry, and, as in the Atacama, unexpected boulders. Nathaniel Scharping, Smithsonian Magazine, 23 Feb. 2023 The remains of foraminifera from 3 million years ago have yielded chemical clues to the height of the seas at that time. Tom Yulsman, Discover Magazine, 6 Dec. 2019 The foraminifera went from 2 species early in the Cenozoic to over 30. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 20 Apr. 2011 Looking like a puffy white star studded with little pearls, this is the shell of an amoeboid protist called a foraminifera, or foram. Discover Magazine, 29 June 2010 On Harbour Island in the Bahamas—one of the most famous beaches pictured here—the pink hue comes from foraminifera, a microscopic organism that actually has a reddish-pink shell, while the sand is a mix of coral, shells, and calcium carbonate. Caitlin Morton, Condé Nast Traveler, 15 Jan. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'foraminifera.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


New Latin, from Latin foramin-, foramen + -fera, neuter plural of -fer -fer

First Known Use

circa 1836, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of foraminifera was circa 1836

Dictionary Entries Near foraminifera

Cite this Entry

“Foraminifera.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


noun plural
fo·​ra·​mi·​nif·​era fə-ˌram-ə-ˈnif-(ə-)rə How to pronounce foraminifera (audio)
: protozoans that are foraminifers
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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