Definition of atoll in English:


Pronunciation /əˈtɒl//ˈatɒl/


  • A ring-shaped reef, island, or chain of islands formed of coral.

    • ‘The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,100 islands, islets, and atolls located southeast of the Asian mainland.’
    • ‘She had chosen a peaceful, romantic holiday in the southern atolls on a small island with only 50 huts.’
    • ‘The tsunami swamped up to 40 percent of the Maldives, an Indian Ocean string of 1,192 coral atolls 480 km southwest of the southern tip of India.’
    • ‘Acknowledged as the world's greatest dive destination, however, are the Maldive Islands in the Indian Ocean with enough coral atolls and underwater life to satisfy the most demanding diver.’
    • ‘Chants and oral traditions suggest native Hawaiians also visited other islands and atolls in the chain.’
    • ‘On outer islands and atolls, however, most matters are settled internally, with little reliance on the state judicial apparatus.’
    • ‘Hidden beneath the salty Pacific, the coral atolls along the northwestern Hawaiian chain put an abrupt end to many a daring seafarer's adventure.’
    • ‘The main island, the Tarawa atoll, is only a few metres above sea level and houses around 40,000 people.’
    • ‘The northern islands are coral atolls that have formed over ancient sunken volcanoes and are characterized by outer reefs surrounding a lagoon.’
    • ‘The Marshall Islands are a group of low-lying coral atolls and islands in the central Pacific Ocean.’
    • ‘Tuvelu is one of the smallest countries on earth, a chain of nine coral atolls whose highest point is just a few meters above sea level.’
    • ‘Reefs are generally divided into three categories; the barrier reef, the atoll, and the fringing reef.’
    • ‘The islands of the Maldives are grouped in ring-shaped coral atolls, each enclosing a relatively shallow lagoon with a flat sandy bottom.’
    • ‘The islands, atolls and reefs are believed to sit atop vast mineral and oil deposits.’
    • ‘Diving is generally within the atoll lagoons for the inexperienced, and outside the atolls on reef walls for the advanced.’
    • ‘There are at least 1000 islands in the chain of 19 atolls which make up the Maldives.’
    • ‘All the islands were formed by volcanic activity and can be divided into atolls and high islands.’
    • ‘Banaba is a raised limestone island, but the other islands are all coral atolls, and most have lagoons.’
    • ‘In their voyage through the remote islands and atolls they seldom took the boy ashore, fearing infection.’
    • ‘The Maldives include nearly 1,200 islands in 15 major atolls spanning approximately 470 miles to just south of the equator.’
    shoal, bar, sandbar, sandbank, spit
    View synonyms


Early 17th century: from Maldivian atoḷu.