Definition of coral in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkɒr(ə)l/


1 [mass noun] A hard stony substance secreted by certain marine coelenterates as an external skeleton, typically forming large reefs in warm seas: [as modifier]: a coral reef the nearby coral islands, lagoons, and atolls
More example sentences
  • Police said seven tourist boats sail every day from Tungkang to the small island, which boasts coral reefs and rich marine life.
  • The rest of the island is characterized by beautiful sandy beaches, coral reefs, warm clear blue waters and idyllic islands.
  • Ciguatera poison is made by a microscopic organism that attaches itself to algae growing in the warm waters of coral reefs.
1.1Precious red coral, used in jewellery: she was wearing a twisted rope of coral, pearls, and crystal [as modifier]: coral beads
More example sentences
  • The pieces on this page - not to scale - are only the tip of the mountain of crystal, coral, bead, shell, pearl and sequin baubles available out there for summer.
  • The precious ingredients, ivory, coral, amber and crystal, have a distinctly magical aura - precious medicine for a precious child.
  • The sculptures are made of copper and silver decorated with coral, pearl, crystal and stone and are often set on a heart-shaped base.
1.2The pinkish-red colour of red coral: colours of earth, coral, and chestnut [as modifier]: a coral and white dinner service
More example sentences
  • The key colours are bright coral, various shades of purple, peach and green.
  • Cyclamen flower petals range in colors from pink to white, coral, red, purple, and also a wide array of bicolors.
  • Jewel colours such as coral and emerald-green showed up often on runways last week, and shoppers should expect to see them in a few months in stores everywhere.
2A sedentary coelenterate of warm and tropical seas, with a calcareous, horny, or soft skeleton. Most corals are colonial and many rely on the presence of green algae in their tissues to obtain energy from sunlight.
  • Several orders in the class Anthozoa, including the ‘true’ or stony corals (order Scleractinia or Madreporaria), which form reefs, the soft corals (order Alcyonacea), which form leathery or fleshy colonies, and the horny corals (order Gorgonacea).
Example sentences
  • Since the beginning of the Cenozoic, reefs have become dominated by scleractinian corals and calcareous algae.
  • They were found in association with several other brachiopods as well as corals.
  • They are reef fishes that not only rely on the corals for habitat but also food.
3 [mass noun] The unfertilized roe of a lobster or scallop, which is used as food and becomes reddish when cooked: we had scallops with their coral, in their fluted shells
More example sentences
  • Remove the orange beak of coral from each scallop.
  • In a food processor, mix the lobster coral with three ounces of butter until well combined and reserve.
  • Separating the boys from the girls, females, called ‘hens’, are often preferred for their roe or coral.



adjective (chiefly Biology & Zoology )
Example sentences
  • In cycads, the cyanobacteria are sheltered in specially modified roots which have the appearance of coral, and so are called coralloid roots, as seen above at left.
  • Specialised, upright-growing, branched roots, known as coralloid roots, are also produced by all species.
  • Conversely, normal lateral roots can be initiated within the internal tissues of decaying coralloid branches.


Middle English: via Old French from Latin corallum, from Greek korallion, kouralion.

Words that rhyme with coral

amoral, Balmoral, immoral, laurel, moral, quarrel, sorel, sorrel

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: coral

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