moray eel


: any of numerous often brightly colored eels (family Muraenidae) that have sharp teeth capable of inflicting a severe bite, that occur in warm seas, and that include a chiefly Mediterranean eel (Muraena helena) sometimes used for food

called also moray

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Usually seen nestled into burrows around coral reefs, the ribbon eel (sometimes called the leaf-nosed moray eel) lives in Indonesian waters from East Africa, to southern Japan, Australia, and French Polynesia. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, 17 Aug. 2022 That is the dilemma facing the moray eel, a predator famous for its nasty bite and ability to devour large prey. Discover Magazine, 29 June 2010 This warm vacation destination is home to delicious seafood like moray eel and wines grown in Lanzarote’s mineral-rich volcanic soils. Nico Avalle, Bon Appétit, 21 Dec. 2022 This image shows a hookjaw moray eel, also called Bayer's moray, which skulks around reefs in the waters of Southeast Asia and Oceania. Andrew Moseman, Discover Magazine, 29 June 2010 Sabuncuoglu’s own photograph of a dead moray eel, photographed in Bodrum, Turkey, caught attention because the death was caused by the eel entangling itself in a fishing line. Tom Mullen, Forbes, 17 Oct. 2021 The ocean includes a diverse variety of life to watch—including the brown moray eel, giant anemone, Atlantic trumpetfish, yellow barracuda, flaming reef lobsters and zebra seabream. Tom Mullen, Forbes, 24 Oct. 2021 Suddenly, a snowflake moray eel named Qani heaves its muscled bucatini of a body out of the water and onto the ramp. New York Times, 22 June 2021 Not relying on water means that a moray eel foraging on land can snarf down dinner without needing to call off the hunt by returning to the water. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 June 2021 See More

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

Word History


Portuguese moréia, from Latin muraena, from Greek myraina

First Known Use

1926, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of moray eel was in 1926

Dictionary Entries Near moray eel

Cite this Entry

“Moray eel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition

moray eel

mo·​ray eel mə-ˈrā- How to pronounce moray eel (audio) ˈmȯr-ā- How to pronounce moray eel (audio)
: any of numerous often brightly colored eels that have sharp teeth capable of biting and live in warm seas

called also moray

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