[kawr-uh l, kor-]
See more synonyms for coral on
  1. the hard, variously colored, calcareous skeleton secreted by certain marine polyps.
  2. such skeletons collectively, forming reefs, islands, etc.
  3. the solitary or colonial polyp that secretes this calcareous skeleton.
  4. a reddish yellow; light yellowish red; pinkish yellow.
  5. the unimpregnated roe or eggs of the lobster that when boiled take on the color of red coral.
  6. something made of coral, as an ornament, piece of jewelry, or a child's toy.
  1. made of coral: a coral reef; coral ornamentation.
  2. making coral: a coral polyp.
  3. resembling coral, especially in color; yellowish-red.

Origin of coral

1275–1325; Middle English coral(l) < Latin corāll(i)um < Greek korā́llion red coral, equivalent to korall- (< Semitic; compare Hebrew gōrāl pebble) + -ion diminutive suffix
Related formscor·al·like, adjective


[kawr-uh l, kor-]
  1. a female given name. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for coral

Contemporary Examples of coral

Historical Examples of coral

  • The cable, which had been broken by the anchors of coral fishers, was grapnelled with difficulty.

  • He brought no money, no coral from foreign parts, nor news of grapes in Eshcol.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • He goes thither, laden with coral and pearls from the Indies.

    The Memoirs of Madame de Montespan, Complete

    Madame La Marquise De Montespan

  • Garnish with coral and parsley, and serve with tartare sauce (see Sauces).

    The Skilful Cook

    Mary Harrison

  • Dish on a folded napkin, and garnish with parsley, coral, and cut lemon.

    The Skilful Cook

    Mary Harrison

British Dictionary definitions for coral


  1. any marine mostly colonial coelenterate of the class Anthozoa having a calcareous, horny, or soft skeletonSee also stony coral, sea fan
    1. the calcareous or horny material forming the skeleton of certain of these animals
    2. (as modifier)a coral reef See also red coral
    1. a rocklike aggregation of certain of these animals or their skeletons, forming an island or reef
    2. (as modifier)a coral island
    1. an object made of coral, esp a piece of jewellery
    2. (as modifier)a coral necklace
    1. a deep-pink to yellowish-pink colour
    2. (as adjective)coral lipstick
  2. the roe of a lobster or crab, which becomes pink when cooked

Word Origin for coral

C14: from Old French, from Latin corāllium, from Greek korallion, probably of Semitic origin
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

Word Origin and History for coral

c.1300, from Old French coral (12c., Modern French corail), from Latin corallium, from Greek korallion; perhaps of Semitic origin (cf. Hebrew goral "small pebble," Arabic garal "small stone"), originally just the red variety found in the Mediterranean, hence use of the word as a symbol of "red." Related: Coralline. Coral snake (1760) is so called for the red zones in its markings. Coral reef is attested from 1745.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

coral in Science


  1. Any of numerous small, sedentary cnidarians (coelenterates) of the class Anthozoa. Corals often form massive colonies in shallow sea water and secrete a cup-shaped skeleton of calcium carbonate, which they can retreat into when in danger. Corals are related to the sea anemones and have stinging tentacles around the mouth opening that are used to catch prey.
  2. A hard, stony substance consisting of the skeletons of these animals. It is typically white, pink, or reddish and can form large reefs that support an abundance of ocean fish.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.