Definition of coelenterate in English:



  • An aquatic invertebrate animal of a phylum that includes jellyfishes, corals, and sea anemones. They typically have a tube- or cup-shaped body with a single opening ringed with tentacles that bear stinging cells (nematocysts).

    Also called cnidarian
    • ‘Over 200 species of micro-organisms, fish, crustaceans, polychaetes, echinoderms, coelenterates, and molluscs have been identified in the vent areas.’
    • ‘Surfers more often encounter free-floating coelenterates such as the true jellyfish, Portuguese man-of-war, and box jellyfish.’
    • ‘Seabather's eruption occurs when a person is exposed to the larvae of certain coelenterates.’
    • ‘Some Late Precambrian Ediacaran fossils bear strong resemblances to colonial coelenterates called sea pens.’
    • ‘Throughout the wreck dive we have been shadowed by thousands of coelenterates, drifting by like a slow hail of souls.’


Late 19th century: from modern Latin Coelenterata, from Greek koilos hollow + enteron intestine.