ocean

noun, often attributive
\ ˈō-shən How to pronounce ocean (audio) \
plural oceans

Definition of ocean

1a : the whole body of salt water that covers nearly three fourths of the surface of the earth The ocean covers most of our planet, regulates our weather and climate, absorbs vast amounts of carbon dioxide, provides most of our oxygen, and feeds much of the human population.National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
b : any of the large bodies of water into which the great ocean is divided the oceans of the world
2 : a very large or unlimited quantity or expanse Could have made oceans of money.— James Joyce He would have oceans of time for his ride.— P. G. Wodehouse Jutting from an ocean of prairie, they [the Sangre de Cristo mountains] run north-south like an iguana spine …Skiing

Examples of ocean in a Sentence

We've sailed across hundreds of miles of ocean. the Pacific and Indian oceans
Recent Examples on the Web Foord is speaking on a panel about how the ocean’s natural systems can help humans learn to combat impacts of climate change. Curt Anderson And Cody Jackson, Sun Sentinel, 9 May 2022 Foord is speaking on a panel about how the ocean’s natural systems can help humans learn to combat impacts of climate change. Curt Anderson And Cody Jackson, Anchorage Daily News, 9 May 2022 The series of photos show Carey enjoying some of the finer things in life with her two mini-mes, from backyard fireworks to birthday parties to sunset snuggles by the ocean. Hattie Lindert, PEOPLE.com, 8 May 2022 Moist air off the ocean will lower the marine layer to within 2,000 feet of the ground on Monday and Tuesday, keeping San Diego’s daytime high from surpassing 66, says the National Weather Service. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 May 2022 While the notorious drink bottle destined to pollute the ocean is the stereotypical image of plastics, moldable synthetic materials make possible everything from lightweight vehicles to pipelines to medical equipment. Kyle Harper, WSJ, 6 May 2022 The lighthouse has a truly Instagrammable tree swing facing the ocean and tours every Wednesday and Saturday. Evie Carrick, Travel + Leisure, 6 May 2022 This includes pictures of grim tract housing near the ocean, but focuses primarily on beach and boardwalk denizens. Washington Post, 6 May 2022 Choose from two bestselling styles, both of which use classic black frames as the canvas to display Malin’s popular beach and ocean images. Lois Alter Mark, Forbes, 5 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ocean.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ocean

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for ocean

Middle English occean "the sea flowing around the land mass of the known world," borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin Ōceanus, borrowed from Greek Ōkeanós, probably of pre-Greek substratal origin

Note: Preserved variants of Greek Ōkeanós, as Ōgḗn, Ōgenós, Ōgēnós, may indicate that the velar stop, whatever its original voicing, was palatalized (hence *ūkʸān-?)—strongly suggesting non-Indo-European origin. Old attempts to find an Indo-European origin (as a comparison with Sanskrit ā-śayāna- "lying on") are unconvincing.

Learn More About ocean

Time Traveler for ocean

Time Traveler

The first known use of ocean was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near ocean

OCD

ocean

oceanarium

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for ocean

Last Updated

11 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ocean.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ocean. Accessed 17 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for ocean

ocean

noun
\ ˈō-shən How to pronounce ocean (audio) \

Kids Definition of ocean

1 : the whole body of salt water that covers nearly three fourths of the earth
2 : one of the large bodies of water into which the larger body that covers the earth is divided

More from Merriam-Webster on ocean

Nglish: Translation of ocean for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ocean for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ocean

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Color

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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