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coral reef

See more synonyms for coral reef on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a reef composed mainly of coral and other organic matter of which parts have solidified into limestone.
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Origin of coral reef

First recorded in 1735–45
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for coral reef

beach, shoal, atoll, bar, ridge, bank, rock, cay, skerry

Examples from the Web for coral reef

Historical Examples of coral reef

  • Our souls are islands, with a coral-reef of reserve built up about them.

    The Prairie Child

    Arthur Stringer

  • And that this stone was once part of a coral-reef the corals in it prove at first sight.

    Madam How and Lady Why

    Charles Kingsley

  • But you said that the coal was made from plants and trees, and did plants and trees grow on this coral-reef?

    Madam How and Lady Why

    Charles Kingsley

  • Yet this glorious young hero was drowned—wrecked off a coral-reef, and flung like a weed on the waters.

  • It is not unfrequent that fossil remains of human bones and of animals are found embedded in the coral-reef limestone of Florida.


British Dictionary definitions for coral reef

coral reef

noun
  1. a marine ridge or reef consisting of coral and other organic material consolidated into limestone
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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

coral reef in Science

coral reef

  1. 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.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

coral reef in Culture

coral reef

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

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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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.