sea fan


: any of various gorgonian corals (especially genus Gorgonia) with a compressed fan-shaped skeleton
especially : either of two (Gorgonia ventalina and G. flabellum) of Florida, the Caribbean, and the West Indies

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Bright sunlight filtered through the turquoise water, and a sea fan swayed in the current. Washington Post, 25 June 2021 What’s left of the Mandalay is spread out in about 12 feet of aquarium-clear water, home to schools of colorful fish, gaudy purple sea fans and all sorts of reef flora and fauna. Bonnie Gross,, 20 June 2019 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 The massive wreck proved to be a snorkeling wonderland, sheltering a profusion of colorful corals, sea fans and fish. Doug Hansen, The Seattle Times, 23 Feb. 2018 Rays of sunlight burst down on reefs that were surging with life like underwater cities, including brilliantly colored sea fans and flamingo tongues. Tony Perrottet, New York Times, 2 Jan. 2018

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

Word History

First Known Use

1633, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sea fan was in 1633

Dictionary Entries Near sea fan

Cite this Entry

“Sea fan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

sea fan

: any of various invertebrate sea animals that form fan-shaped colonies and are coelenterates related to the corals and sea anemones

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