gor·​go·​ni·​an gȯr-ˈgō-nē-ən How to pronounce gorgonian (audio)
: any of an order (Gorgonacea) of colonial often colorful anthozoan corals that have a stiff branching skeleton and include the sea whips and sea fans
gorgonian adjective

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Sunlight streams through the water, backlighting a large gorgonian. Enric Sala, Discover Magazine, 22 Sep. 2015 Looking at the patterns of sessile, or immobile, species like corals, macroalgae, sponges, and gorgonians—a type of coral that includes sea fans—the team found that animals living in deeper waters were likely to have longer lives. National Geographic, 31 Mar. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gorgonian.' 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 Gorgonia, a coral genus, from Latin, coral, from Gorgon-, Gorgo

First Known Use

1835, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of gorgonian was in 1835

Dictionary Entries Near gorgonian

Cite this Entry

“Gorgonian.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gorgonian. Accessed 30 Mar. 2023.

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