1. Also called pompano, butterfly-shell clam. a small clam, Donax variabilis, abundant in the intertidal zone of eastern and southern U.S. coastal beaches, having fanlike bands of various hues, the paired empty shells often spread in a butterfly shape.
  2. any similar clam, especially of the genus Donax.
  3. a soft, whitish rock made up of fragments of marine shells and coral, used as a building material.

Origin of coquina

1830–40, Americanism; < Spanish: literally, shellfish, equivalent to Old Spanish coc(a) shellfish (< Latin concha; see conch) + -ina -ine1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for coquina

Historical Examples of coquina

  • There was no second block of coquina; Walter remained standing.

    Horace Chase

    Constance Fenimore Woolson

  • Presently he walked to the edge of the coquina quarry and looked down into it.

    Quick Action

    Robert W. Chambers

  • I was down to the Coquina country, a-doin'—well, I was doin' rubes.


    Robert W. Chambers

  • He laughed, too: "You'll pay 'em if you take my map an' go to the Coquina hills," he said.


    Robert W. Chambers

  • The walls are built of coquina of no modern thickness, but as if designed to resist a siege.

British Dictionary definitions for coquina


  1. a soft limestone consisting of shells, corals, etc, that occurs in parts of the US

Word Origin for coquina

C19: from Spanish: shellfish, probably from concha shell, conch
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

coquina in Science


  1. A soft porous limestone, composed of shells and fragments of shell and coral that are partially cemented by material that is high in calcium carbonate and has not completely hardened.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.