[ kawr-uh l, kor- ]
/ ˈkɔr əl, ˈkɒr- /



Nearby words

  1. coracoclavicular ligament,
  2. coracohumeral,
  3. coracoid,
  4. coracoid process,
  5. coraji,
  6. coral bells,
  7. coral calculus,
  8. coral fern,
  9. coral fungus,
  10. coral gables

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- ]
/ ˈkɔr əl, ˈkɒr- /


a female given name. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for coral

British Dictionary definitions for coral


/ (ˈkɒrəl) /


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
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

Science definitions for coral


[ kôrəl ]

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.
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.