Definitions

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

  • n. Any of various stony corals of the order Madreporaria, which includes the reef builders of tropical seas.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A coral of the order Madreporaria
  • n. Any stony coral.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any coral of the genus Madrepora, a group of corals having calcareous skeletons aggregations of which form reefs and islands; formerly, often applied to any stony coral.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An animal, or a coral, of the genus Madrepora or family Madreporidœ; the polypite or the polypidom of a perforate madreporarian: a name loosely extended to any stone-coral with madre poriform cavities or openings.

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

  • n. corals having calcareous skeletons aggregations of which form reefs and islands

Etymologies

Italian madrepora : madre, mother (from Latin māter, mātr-) + -pora (alteration of poro, tufa, pore, from Late Latin porus, passageway; see pore, or from Latin pōrus, calcareous stone, stalactite, from Greek pōros).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French madrépore, from Italian madrepora, from madre ("mother"), from Latin mater + poro ("pore"), from Latin porus (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • But in order to do this, he must have been thoroughly familiar with the enormous madrepore of the sewer in all its ramifications and in all its openings.

    Les Miserables

  • The sub-soil of Paris, if the eye could penetrate its surface, would present the aspect of a colossal madrepore.

    Les Miserables

  • This is a great mass of madrepore, and in the living state every one of the ends of these branches was terminated by a beautiful little polype, like a sea anemone, and all the skeleton was covered by a soft body which united the polypes together.

    Essays

  • “Still assuming that I am an individual, and human, and not a madrepore of linked beans.” byssus.

    Ready for the SAT « So Many Books

  • “And once again, her skirt, the oriflamme of her hair – but seen, as always, from the back.” madrepore.

    Ready for the SAT « So Many Books

  • The number of houses in Souakin is about six hundred, of which two-thirds are in ruins, for the madrepore with which they are built soon decays, unless constantly kept in repair.

    Travels in Nubia

  • Those here are of reddish variegated, hardened sandstone, with madrepore holes in it.

    Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa

  • Shaykh Nur had been ordered to take rooms for me in a vast pile of madrepore — unfossilized coral, a recent formation, — once the palace of Mohammed bin Aun, and now converted into a Wakalah.

    Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah

  • No buildings of ancient date are observed in Djidda, the madrepore being of such a nature that it rapidly decays when exposed to the rain and moist atmosphere prevalent here.

    Travels in Arabia

  • As the branches are open, this would not be equivalent to more than half an inch in height of solid coral for the whole surface covered by the madrepore; and, as they are also porous, to not over three-eighths of an inch of solid limestone.

    Autobiography and Selected Essays

Comments

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  • A new visitor arrived at the Abbey, in the person of Mr Asterias, the ichthyologist. This gentleman had passed his life in seeking the living wonders of the deep through the four quarters of the world; he had a cabinet of stuffed and dried fishes, of shells, sea-weeds, corals, and madrepores, that was the admiration and envy of the Royal Society.

    - Thomas Love Peacock, Nightmare Abbey, ch. 7

    September 3, 2008

  • "I gazed on this momentary apotheosis with a perturbation which was partly soothed by feeling that I myself was unknown to the Immortals; the Duchess had indeed seen me once with her husband, but could surely have kept no memory of that, and I was not distressed that she should find herself, owing to the position that she occupied in the box, gazing down upon the nameless, collective madrepores of the audience in the stalls, for I was happily aware that my being was dissolved in their midst, when, at the moment in which, by virtue of the laws of refraction, the blurred shaped of the protozoon devoid of any individual existence which was myself must have come to be reflected in the impassive current of those two blue eyes, I saw a ray illumine them: the Duchess, goddess turned woman, and appearing in that moment a thousand times more lovely, raised towards me the white-gloved hand which had been resting on the balustrade of the box and waved it in token of friendship; my gaze was caught in the spontaneous incandescence of the flashing eyes of the Princess, who had unwittingly set them ablaze merely by turning her head to see who it might be that her cousin was thus greeting: and the latter, who had recognized me, poured upon me the sparkling and celestial shower of her smile."
    --The Guermantes Way by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, Revised by D.J. Enright, pp 68-69 of the Modern Library paperback edition

    August 4, 2008