[doo-gong, -gawng]


an herbivorous, aquatic mammal, Dugong dugon, of the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, having a barrel-shaped body, flipperlike forelimbs, no hind limbs, and a triangular tail: widespread but rare.

Origin of dugong

1790–1800; < New Latin < German: first recorded as dugung, apparently misrepresentation of Malay duyung, or a cognate Austronesian word
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dugong

Historical Examples of dugong

  • Paddy gave a shout of delight when he heard that he was appointed to the Dugong.

    The Three Midshipmen

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • He knew they were amphibious, and that, where the dugong was found, land could not be a long way off.

    The Castaways

    Captain Mayne Reid

  • Was it he who threw Top out of the lake, and killed the dugong?

    The Secret of the Island

    W.H.G. Kingston (translation from Jules Verne)

  • It seemed a wonder that the Dugong could stand so much battering.

    In the Eastern Seas

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • “A dugong,” said Briscoe, cocking and raising his double rifle.

    Old Gold

    George Manville Fenn

British Dictionary definitions for dugong



a whalelike sirenian mammal, Dugong dugon, occurring in shallow tropical waters from E Africa to Australia: family Dugongidae

Word Origin for dugong

C19: from Malay duyong
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 dugong

1800, from Malay duyung, which is dugung in the Philippines.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper