Main definitions of reef in English

: reef1reef2

reef1

noun

  • 1A ridge of jagged rock, coral, or sand just above or below the surface of the sea.

    • ‘The state is funding a long-term program to build artificial oyster reefs from shells recycled by North Carolina restaurants.’
    • ‘Tourists visit Mayan ruins, take jungle safaris, and explore a long barrier reef.’
    • ‘On a shallow rocky reef, two silvery sea bass accompany us during a 45-minute dive.’
    • ‘Today, most of the country's southeast coast is surrounded by man-made reefs, which are harvested commercially.’
    • ‘Waterfront homeowners also will be encouraged to restore oyster reefs in their own backyards.’
    • ‘To illustrate the point, Knowlton offers the example of coral reefs, which she describes as the most diverse ecosystems in the world.’
    • ‘Mostly we dived shallow coral reefs in the order of 12m deep and less.’
    • ‘They are fairly active and can be seen exploring rocky reefs and the ocean bottom in search of food.’
    • ‘Returning from it, however, his vessel catches on a reef off the coast of Florida.’
    • ‘Although enforcement alone can't protect the reefs, cooperation can.’
    • ‘On the sandbar you will have several hours to relax or snorkel the surrounding reefs.’
    • ‘Mexico's Caribbean has outstanding reefs teeming with corals and fish life.’
    • ‘The Federal Government has awarded Geraldton nearly $250,000 to develop an artificial reef off the coast.’
    • ‘Whatever your reason, diving a tropical reef is as good as it gets.’
    • ‘Boats can be hired for passage to outer islands and fringing reefs.’
    • ‘Pieces of its wreckage can be found all over this rocky coastal reef.’
    • ‘Many of these shallower coral reefs are in pristine condition.’
    • ‘Representatives of Baker's Bay say the project will not damage the reef.’
    • ‘Below are beautiful coral reefs, turtles, sharks and a clean ocean floor.’
    • ‘They're ringed by one of the world's largest barrier reefs and home to outstanding diving and fishing.’
    shoal, bar, sandbar, sandbank, spit
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A vein of ore in the earth, especially one containing gold.
      • ‘After the alluvial gold had been mined, companies were formed to start reef mining.’
      • ‘In its pomp KGF was the wealthiest gold reef in the British Empire, with the deepest shaft at Champion Reef.’
      • ‘On the Witwatersrand the gold-bearing rock was discovered in outcrops on the surface, but within a few years it became clear that the deposits followed reefs deep underground sloping to the south.’
      • ‘Lack of investment led to the closure of the once-rich reefs and, more recently, gold itself has lost its glitter and become just another mineral deposit.’
      • ‘How diverse the land is here; desert and limestone cliffs are a stone's throw from the reef.’
      • ‘This is in marked contrast to those reefs close to the mine that are regularly affected by high sediment loads carried by the plume.’
      • ‘The story of gold is told in a bus tour taking in the site where Harrison identified the gold reef in Langlaagte.’
      • ‘Apparently, three of the Struben brothers' workers were among those who struck gold in the main reef.’
      • ‘On 21 February there were clashes between police and the strikers across the reef, from Benoni to Fordsburg.’
      • ‘This town grew up to serve the gold mining industry and took its name from quartz-bearing reefs discovered in the area in 1871.’
      • ‘The reef mines sank far underground, and used expensive machinery and complex metallurgical processes to separate the gold from the waste rock.’
      • ‘Instead, it really does consist of a large number of small reefs, in fact if you look at a map in the museum behind us you'd see very clearly that it's not one continuous solid reef.’
      • ‘As reclamation began, people came to live here, and through coal mining the reef started to expand continuously.’
      • ‘Then there is the historical aspect of the reef, which brings into focus the reef as resource, a story of commodities and extractive industries, from fishing to mining.’
      • ‘The technique was to go slowly back and forth parallel to the shore on the basalt reef and locate any fissure veins containing copper or other minerals.’
      • ‘The city's population grew during that decade from 70,000 to over 500,000, as fortunes were won and lost on the nearby gold reefs.’
      • ‘By July though, it was reported from Beltana that no payable gold had been found, but that some good reefs had been taken up.’
      • ‘The search for gold spread, and in 1886 the main reef at Langlaagte in Johannesburg was discovered.’
      • ‘The wealth from those fields helped finance the exploitation of the greatest gold reef in the world, which was discovered on the Witwatersrand in 1886.’
      • ‘Most of the ‘Cape Blue’ crocidolite was mined from seven reefs, each several metres thick.’

Origin

Late 16th century (earlier as riff): from Middle Low German and Middle Dutch rif, ref, from Old Norse rif, literally ‘rib’, used in the same sense; compare with reef.

Pronunciation

reef

/riːf/

Main definitions of reef in English

: reef1reef2

reef2

noun

Sailing
  • Each of the several strips across a sail which can be taken in or rolled up to reduce the area exposed to the wind.

    • ‘We had to sail her with ‘two reefs in’, a reduced sail area for the rough conditions.’

verb

[with object]Sailing
  • 1Take in one or more reefs of (a sail)

    ‘reef the mainsail in strong winds’
    • ‘Sailors hop to it, and in an emergency, they can be counted on to reef the mainsail and batten down the hatches.’
    • ‘The topmen were reefing in the sail to match the speed of the * flagship * of their little band.’
    • ‘As the sails were reefed, her forward motion dropped to a minimum.’
    • ‘Early on, the wind filled to 18 knots and the yachts were forced to reef their mainsails and change headsails under difficult conditions.’
    • ‘I can raise and strike a sail, reef it and stow it.’
    • ‘Having all but the mizzen sail reefed, he bade Lasky a goodnight.’
    • ‘In the short term, I think we're just going to have to reef in the sails and hold on tight.’
    • ‘As they approached the coast of Western Australia the wind blew too heavily for the ship to make landfall and they had to heave to with close reefed topsails.’
    • ‘Finding that they had not been making sufficient way to windward, Nares ordered the sails reefed and steam power used instead.’
    • ‘With some difficulty, the crew members slowly reef, or reduce, the sail.’
    • ‘They clustered here and there in little clumps, whispering, while Reynard's crew scurried around reefing the sails.’
    • ‘The rule is: when you first think about reefing, reef, because, the second time you won't have time.’
    • ‘Perhaps they hadn't figured out how to reef a sail 600 years ago.’
    • ‘The sail were loosed and reefed, furled and unfurled, braces manned, halyards tested.’
    • ‘Tahr perched herself precariously on the window ledge watching the evening activity along the wharves: fishing boats being tied, cargo being unloaded, sails being reefed and mended.’
    • ‘Captain Valentine ordered his men to reef the sails and lower the anchors, while he once again reminded Jose and the young boy about their jobs.’
    1. 1.1 Shorten (a topmast or a bowsprit).
      • ‘Even if the sails were incomplete, couldn't they have been reefed down, rip-stopped, patched, or sewed?’

Origin

Middle English: from Middle Dutch reef, rif, from Old Norse rif, literally ‘rib’, used in the same sense; compare with reef.

Pronunciation

reef

/riːf/