Definitions

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

  • adj. Of, relating to, or living in open oceans or seas rather than waters adjacent to land or inland waters: pelagic birds.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Living in the open sea rather than in coastal or inland waters.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to the ocean; -- applied especially to animals that live at the surface of the ocean, away from the coast. Compare benthic.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Marine; oceanic; of or inhabiting the deep or open sea: said of those aquatic plants and animals which inhabit the high seas. Also Pelagian.
  • Specifically, in marine biol.: Living at the surface of the high sea at a distance from land.
  • Living at the surface of the sea. See the extract.
  • Living at the surface of the water, either salt or fresh.
  • Floating or swimming in the water, either at the surface or at any depth below it.
  • In geology and geography, of or pertaining to the deep ocean; far from land.

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

  • adj. relating to or occurring or living in or frequenting the open ocean

Etymologies

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

Latin pelagicus, from Greek pelagikos, from pelagos, sea; see plāk-1 in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin pelagicus (and possibly pelagus); from Ancient Greek πελαγικός (pelagikós), from πέλαγος (pélagos, "sea").

Examples

  • Marine biodiversity has been particularly threatened by the uncontrolled illegal fishing by large ships owned by mainland or Asiatic fishing companies in pelagic zones, often inside the Marine Reserve, using high technology methods such as long-lining.

    Galápagos National Park & Galápagos Marine Resources Reserve, Ecuador

  • Fail to use an approved "pelagic" system for weighing herring, mackerel and horse mackerel.

    Archive 2008-09-01

  • Whale sharks are pelagic, meaning they roam the open sea, and can only be seen along the coast during seasonal feeding aggregations.

    Close Encounter with a Whale Shark

  • Every kind of pelagic gamefish cruises in this warm, blue flow.

    Summer at Sea

  • We did a good deal of "pelagic" sealing; that is, catching seals swimming.

    The Cruise of the Cachalot Round the World After Sperm Whales

  • A "pelagic", or open-ocean, shark - so attacks in coastal waters are exceedingly rare

    BBC News - Home

  • The total number of false killer whales in Hawaiian waters, including both the insular population and a "pelagic" population that also interacts with longlines, is estimated at only about 600.

    Earthjustice Press Releases

  • And in South America, the concern is that climate change will alter coastal upwellings, which sustain huge catches of anchovies, sardines and other varieties of small "pelagic" fish.

    KI Media

  • In northern South America, the concern is that climate change will alter coastal upwellings, which sustain huge catches of anchovies, sardines and other varieties of small, "pelagic" fish.

    YubaNet.com

  • Guillemots are pelagic, meaning they spend most of their lives at sea, coming ashore only to breed, yet they rarely venture far from shore.

    Knox

Comments

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  • Beyond the littoral, above the benthic. The open sea.

    November 21, 2011