plural noun

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

Examples of foraminifera in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Geologists already have historical climate data thanks to a proxy: tiny oceanic organisms known as foraminifera, which built shells of calcium carbonate, died, and sank to the seafloor to become rock. WIRED, 28 Sep. 2023 This three-mile stretch of soft, pink sand — which gets its color from seashells and microscopic organisms called foraminifera — is a place to go for total relaxation. Skye Sherman, Travel + Leisure, 13 June 2023 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

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 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


plural noun
fo·​ra·​mi·​nif·​era fə-ˌram-ə-ˈnif-(ə-)rə How to pronounce foraminifera (audio)
: protozoans that are foraminifers
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!