noun, often attributive
\ˈō-shən \

Definition of ocean 

1a : the whole body of salt water that covers nearly three fourths of the surface of the earth

b : any of the large bodies of water (such as the Atlantic Ocean) into which the great ocean is divided

2 : a very large or unlimited space or quantity

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Synonyms for ocean


abysm, abyss, chasm, deep, gulf

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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

Someone called the police on a black man who was reading a book about Christianity while watching the ocean. Cleve R. Wootson Jr., chicagotribune.com, "'First day of paper route and we are pulled over by police:' The latest in #LivingWhileBlack," 11 July 2018 The Bahamas is a beautiful place, but half of that beauty is found in the clear warm ocean that surrounds the Islands. Becca Kufrin, PEOPLE.com, "Bachelorette Becca Kufrin Explains Her Reaction to Colton Being a Virgin: ' I Needed a Moment'," 11 July 2018 By the end of the day, we were exhausted from diving into the ocean and so ready to dive deeper into our relationship. Becca Kufrin, PEOPLE.com, "Bachelorette Becca Kufrin Explains Her Reaction to Colton Being a Virgin: ' I Needed a Moment'," 11 July 2018 The video of the calving, which shows the glacier breaking off into the ocean and took place on June 22, offers a first-hand look at the effects of global warming. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "A Stunning Video of a Greenland Iceberg Collapse," 10 July 2018 Whales that live off the coast of Seattle, Tacoma and other cities are effectively urban whales buffeted by municipal and industrial waste, and the occasional spillage from wastewater treatment plants into the ocean. New York Times, "Orcas of the Pacific Northwest Are Starving and Disappearing," 9 July 2018 Because SpaceX has no plans to fly Friday's booster again, it will be expended into the ocean. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "SpaceX has flown its last Block 4 version of the Falcon 9 rocket [Updated]," 28 June 2018 Most of lobsterman Justin Papkee’s day is spent throwing lobsters back into the ocean. Eva Botkin-kowacki, The Christian Science Monitor, "For Maine lobstermen, conservation and success go hand in hand," 25 June 2018 The 2100-degree lava is flowing together into a molten red river running 9 miles from the fissure into the ocean at Kapoho. USA TODAY, "Lava from Kilauea volcano is now hotter, more fluid," 18 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of ocean

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

History and Etymology for ocean

Middle English occean, from Anglo-French, from Latin oceanus, from Greek Ōkeanos, a river thought of as encircling the earth, ocean

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Dictionary Entries near ocean


occur to





ocean basin

Statistics for ocean

Last Updated

30 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ocean

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

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More Definitions for ocean



English Language Learners Definition of ocean

: the salt water that covers much of the Earth's surface

: one of the five large areas of salt water that cover much of the Earth's surface

: a very large number or amount of something


\ˈō-shən \

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

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Comments on ocean

What made you want to look up ocean? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

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