Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A rocklike deposit consisting of the calcareous skeletons secreted by various marine invertebrates, chiefly anthozoans. Coral deposits often accumulate to form reefs or islands in warm seas.
  • noun A polyp or colony of polyps of any of the numerous anthozoans that secrete a hard or flexible skeleton, especially the reef-building hard corals.
  • noun A polyp or colony of polyps of any of various hydrozoans that secrete hard skeletons, such as the fire corals.
  • noun The hard skeleton of various corals, especially of red corals of the genus Corallium, used to make jewelry and ornaments.
  • noun An object made of this material.
  • noun A deep or strong pink to moderate red or reddish orange.
  • noun The unfertilized eggs of a female lobster, which turn a reddish color when cooked.
  • adjective Of a deep or strong pink to moderate red or reddish orange.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A general term for the hard calcareous skeleton secreted by the marine cœlenterate polyps for their support and habitation (polypidom).
  • noun A child's toy, consisting of a branch of smooth coral with a ring attached, and usually with the addition of small bells and a whistle.
  • noun The unimpregnated roe or eggs of the lobster, which when boiled assume the appearance of coral.
  • noun A fleshy-leafed crassulaceous house-plant, Rochea coccinea, native of South Africa, bearing bright-scarlet flowers.
  • Made of coral; consisting of coral; coralline: as, a coral ornament; a coral reef.
  • Making coral; coralligenous: as, a coral polyp.
  • Containing coral; coraled; coralliferous: as, a coral grove.
  • Resembling coral; especially, of the color of commercial coral; pinkish-red; red: specifically, in heraldry, used of that color when described in blazoning a nobleman's escutcheon according to the system of precious stones. See blazon, n.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) The hard parts or skeleton of various Anthozoa, and of a few Hydrozoa. Similar structures are also formed by some Bryozoa.
  • noun The ovaries of a cooked lobster; -- so called from their color.
  • noun A piece of coral, usually fitted with small bells and other appurtenances, used by children as a plaything.
  • noun See under Brain.
  • noun See under Chain.
  • noun (Zoöl.) one of the polyps by which corals are formed. They are often very erroneously called coral insects.
  • noun See in the Vocabulary.
  • noun (Phys. Geog.) reefs, often of great extent, made up chiefly of fragments of corals, coral sands, and the solid limestone resulting from their consolidation. They are classed as fringing reefs, when they border the land; barrier reefs, when separated from the shore by a broad belt of water; atolls, when they constitute separate islands, usually inclosing a lagoon. See Atoll.
  • noun (Bot.) a genus (Corallorhiza) of orchideous plants, of a yellowish or brownish red color, parasitic on roots of other plants, and having curious jointed or knotted roots not unlike some kinds of coral. See Illust. under Coralloid.
  • noun (Zo) A small, harmless, South American snake (Tortrix scytale).
  • noun (Bot.) a tropical, leguminous plant, of several species, with showy, scarlet blossoms and coral-red seeds. The best known is Erythrina Corallodendron.
  • noun a hard, red cabinet wood.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun uncountable A hard substance made of the limestone skeletons of marine polyps.
  • noun countable A colony of marine polyps.
  • noun countable (colour) A somewhat yellowish pink colour, the colour of red coral.
  • adjective Made of coral.
  • adjective Having the yellowish pink colour of coral.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun marine colonial polyp characterized by a calcareous skeleton; masses in a variety of shapes often forming reefs
  • adjective of a strong pink to yellowish-pink color
  • noun a variable color averaging a deep pink
  • noun the hard stony skeleton of a Mediterranean coral that has a delicate red or pink color and is used for jewelry
  • noun unfertilized lobster roe; reddens in cooking; used as garnish or to color sauces

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin corallium, from Greek korallion.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek κοράλλιον (korallion, "coral").

Examples

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • I really wish that I didn't object to coral jewelry; it's so pretty!

    August 31, 2007

  • Continuing notes on the zooxanthellae page... "The coral itself produces waste in the form of carbon dioxide, nitrates, and phosphates, all of which help the algae to grow. That tight waste-recycling chain is one of the primary reasons coral reefs are able to support such a dense and diverse population of creatures, despite residing in tropical waters, which are generally nutrient-poor. They are the cities of the sea."

    —Steven Johnson, The Ghost Map (New York: Penguin, 2006), 7

    October 1, 2008

  • c_b..."the."

    October 1, 2008

  • No, it's supposed to say teh. And... hte. And eth.

    (Not really. Thanks.)

    October 1, 2008

  • Usage/historical notes on aloe wood and myrobolan.

    November 28, 2017

  • I like how different these definitions are:

    "The unfertilized eggs of a female lobster, which turn a reddish color when cooked."

    -- from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

    "The ovaries of a cooked lobster; -- so called from their color."

    -- from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

    "The unimpregnated roe or eggs of the lobster, which when boiled assume the appearance of coral."

    --from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

    February 22, 2018