[ lit-er-uh l ]
/ ˈlɪt ər əl /


of or relating to the shore of a lake, sea, or ocean.
(on ocean shores) of or relating to the biogeographic region between the sublittoral zone and the high-water line and sometimes including the supralittoral zone above the high-water line.
of or relating to the region of freshwater lake beds from the sublittoral zone up to and including damp areas on shore.Compare intertidal.


a littoral region.

Origin of littoral

1650–60; < Latin littorālis, variant of lītorālis of the shore, equivalent to lītor- (stem of lītus) shore + -ālis -al1

Can be confused

literal littoral Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for littoral

British Dictionary definitions for littoral


/ (ˈlɪtərəl) /


of or relating to the shore of a sea, lake, or ocean
biology inhabiting the shore of a sea or lake or the shallow waters near the shorelittoral fauna


a coastal or shore region

Word Origin for littoral

C17: from Late Latin littorālis, from lītorālis, from lītus shore
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

Science definitions for littoral


[ lĭtər-əl ]

Relating to the coastal zone between the limits of high and low tides. The littoral zone is subject to a wide range of environmental conditions, including high-energy wave action and intermittent periods of flooding and drying along with the associated fluctuations in exposure to solar radiation and extremes of temperature. Compare sublittoral.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.