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coral reef

a reef composed mainly of coral and other organic matter of which parts have solidified into limestone.
Origin of coral reef
First recorded in 1735-45 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for coral reef
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Atherton was wealthy, and a coral reef was more to him than a pearl.

    The Pagan Madonna Harold MacGrath
  • We had gone southward, having got a full ship, when we struck on a coral reef.

    Peter Trawl W. H. G. Kingston
  • No; we are on a coral reef, and our chances of escape are very small.

    The Three Admirals W.H.G. Kingston
  • After this we pulled straight out to sea, and landed on the coral reef.

    The Coral Island R.M. Ballantyne
  • We entered also the harbour of Magadoxa, formed by a coral reef.

  • When the coral reef, as it is called, reaches the surface, it advances no further.

    The Ocean and its Wonders R.M. Ballantyne
  • There is a coral reef nearly all the way from Africa to beyond Ras Momi.

    Southern Arabia Theodore Bent
  • Abercromby also gives a very graphic description of a coral reef.

    The Beauties of Nature Sir John Lubbock
  • The shore is here a coral reef, upheaved about fifteen feet above the sea.

    Savage Island Basil C. Thomson
British Dictionary definitions for coral reef

coral reef

a marine ridge or reef consisting of coral and other organic material consolidated into limestone
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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coral reef in Science
coral reef  
A mound or ridge of living coral, coral skeletons, and calcium carbonate deposits from other organisms such as calcareous algae, mollusks, and protozoans. Most coral reefs form in warm, shallow sea waters and rise to or near the surface, generally in the form of a barrier reef, fringing reef, or atoll. Coral reefs grow upward from the sea floor as the polyps of new corals cement themselves to the skeletons of those below and in turn provide support for algae and other organisms whose secretions serve to bind the skeletons together. The resulting structure provides a critical habitat for a wide variety of fish and marine invertebrates. Coral reefs also protect shores against erosion by causing large waves to break and lose some of their force before reaching land. The Great Barrier Reef off the northeastern coast of Australia extends for some 2,000 km (1,240 mi), making it the world's largest coral reef.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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coral reef in Culture

coral reef definition

A formation, at or near the surface of tropical waters, formed by skeletal deposits of corals, a form of sea life.

Note: Coral reefs form a protective environment for a wide variety of marine animals.
Note: Atolls — ring-shaped islands that nearly or entirely enclose a lagoon — are coral reefs.
Note: The largest coral reef is the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.
Note: Coral reefs are very sensitive to chemical pollution and changes in temperature and are considered to be in danger from environmental stress.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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