- a ridge of rocks or sand, often of coral debris, at or near the surface of the water.
- Mining. a lode or vein.
Origin of reef1
- a part of a sail that is rolled and tied down to reduce the area exposed to the wind.
- to shorten (sail) by tying in one or more reefs.
- to reduce the length of (a topmast, a bowsprit, etc.), as by lowering, sliding inboard, or the like.
- to pull (old oakum) out of seams, as with a rave hook (often followed by out).
Origin of reef2
Examples from the Web for reef
And this in turn affects the fish, whales, dolphins, turtles, dugongs and seabirds that live within the Reef.
The Reef has lost more than half its coral cover since 1985, with two-thirds of the loss occurring after 1998.
It also takes place near a minefield of rocks, is a hangout spot for sharks, and breaks on a reef.Now That Everest Is Closed, Check Out These Other Extreme Adventures
May 8, 2014
Before the war I was a short-order cook in Zabadani, which is a beautiful tourist valley in Reef Damashq, near Lebanon.Former Syrian Soldier Describes Life in the Army at the Start of War
September 4, 2013
But Searle and other native Gibraltarians say the move to build the reef was about much more than the fishing population.Between Gibraltar and a Hard Place
Barbie Latza Nadeau
August 7, 2013
He had himself been obliged to bail out three times, running in from the reef.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
I said, standing on the steps like a captain ordering his men to take in a reef.My Double Life
The reef must first be cleared, and then the ship shall be carried.
"This is a part of the reef, then, that is never covered," said he.
The Arabs of the ship called to those on the reef, and the latter answered.
- a ridge of rock, sand, coral, etc, the top of which lies close to the surface of the sea
- a ridge- or mound-like structure built by sedentary calcareous organisms (esp corals) and consisting mainly of their remains
- a vein of ore, esp one of gold-bearing quartz
- the part gathered in when sail area is reduced, as in a high wind
- to reduce the area of (sail) by taking in a reef
- (tr) to shorten or bring inboard (a spar)
Word Origin and History for reef
"rock ridge underwater," 1580s, riffe, probably via Dutch riffe, from a Scandinavian source, cf. Old Norse rif "ridge in the sea; reef in a sail," literally "rib" (see rib (n.)).
"horizontal section of sail," late 14c. (mid-14c. in rif-rope), from a Scandinavian source, cf. Old Norse rif "reef of a sail," probably a transferred use of rif "ridge under the sea; rib" (see rib (n.) and cf. reef (n.1)). German reff, Swedish ref, Norwegian riv, Danish reb likely all are from the Old Norse word.
1660s, "take in, roll up" (as a sail on a ship), from reef (n.2). Related: Reefed; reefing.
- A strip or ridge of rocks, sand, or coral that rises to or near the surface of a body of water. See more at coral reef.