Definition of coral in US English:



  • 1A 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 sea around Mafia is a tropical Marine Park ranging from coral reefs, sea-grass beds, mangroves and inter-tidal flats.’
    • ‘Kai Tia Island, situated in the Toey Ngam Bay, is an important habitat for coral reefs and marine life and is also considered a spiritually sacred place.’
    • ‘Even marginally warmer seas will bleach, and then kill, coral reefs, which sustain the greater part of marine biodiversity.’
    • ‘The week-long event focuses on protecting the world's coral reefs and marine ecosystems and educating divers on their role in conservation efforts.’
    • ‘The clean up activity was directed towards collecting whatever litter was found on the ocean floor around Larn Island's coral reefs.’
    • ‘‘She said when the boat had been going out there were little islands and coral reefs in sight, on the way back they were all swamped by water,’ said Mrs Needham.’
    • ‘Police said seven tourist boats sail every day from Tungkang to the small island, which boasts coral reefs and rich marine life.’
    • ‘The world's most biologically diverse marine ecosystems, coral reefs are critical to the health of the oceans.’
    • ‘Beyond, near-shore islands and coral reefs provided shelter for an array of terrestrial and marine life.’
    • ‘Made up of more than 1,000 coral reef islands, the Maldives itself is a magic place created by the Gods.’
    • ‘Over the long run, the greatest threat facing coral reefs may be warmer waters due to global warming.’
    • ‘Shallow-water and deep-water coral reefs reveal beautiful marine life.’
    • ‘For years, coral reefs and marine life have helped define the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as an international tourist destination.’
    • ‘Promotions will also be designed to protect the islands' coral reefs, waters and beaches.’
    • ‘The rest of the island is characterized by beautiful sandy beaches, coral reefs, warm clear blue waters and idyllic islands.’
    • ‘With its blue waters, white-sand beaches, and pristine coral reefs, Zamami Island off Okinawa looks like paradise.’
    • ‘The depletion of coral reef habitats and marine aquarium fishes has presented a relatively new market in aquaculture.’
    • ‘Ciguatera poison is made by a microscopic organism that attaches itself to algae growing in the warm waters of coral reefs.’
    • ‘Fancy taking your love for a moonlit swim in the warm waters of the Caribbean, or exploring some of the island's most beautiful coral reefs hand in hand?’
    • ‘Leave winter behind for warm sandy beaches, coral reefs, and bright turquoise waters filled with colorful fish.’
    1. 1.1 Precious red coral, used in jewelry.
      • ‘Once in Lhasa I tried to buy a turquoise necklace off a very attractive young woman with high red cheekbones and coral beads in her plaited hair.’
      • ‘The sculptures are made of copper and silver decorated with coral, pearl, crystal and stone and are often set on a heart-shaped base.’
      • ‘I fingered it and put it back; then I took a pearl necklace with a coral shell in the center.’
      • ‘The traditional headdress has a wooden framework covered with coral, pearls, amber, and turquoise.’
      • ‘Earrings made of black metal with American diamonds embedded, chains made of gunmetal, coral and jade and pearl bangles add to the gaiety.’
      • ‘Their red locks and adornments of coral and pearls flounder on the pitch and whirl of the waves which augment the writhe of their seasnake legs.’
      • ‘Ruby, sapphire, emerald, opal, coral, and pearl are found in abundance.’
      • ‘In return he was presented with a string of coral beads.’
      • ‘The area is known as the coral coast and you'll find numerous small shops in Alghero devoted to flogging coral jewellery.’
      • ‘She had done up her hair as was befitting royalty, and had placed a wreath of duskbloomers, a soft purple flower, intertwined with coral and pearls as a crown.’
      • ‘The precious ingredients, ivory, coral, amber and crystal, have a distinctly magical aura - precious medicine for a precious child.’
      • ‘These include jet (fossil wood), amber (fossil tree resin), coral, pearl, and ivory.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It can be any precious stone, such as turquoise or coral - not ordinary ones you would find on the ground.’
      • ‘This includes opals, turquoise, malachite, pearls, amber, coral, shells, and similar soft or porous materials.’
      • ‘The icon of Manjusri remains in the background, placed on an ordinary table, adjacent to other precious things, such as a branch of coral.’
      • ‘The jewellery is made from materials, such as coral, quartz and crystals.’
      • ‘Her closed eyes were smeared with a gold makeup across the lids, and a double loop of pink, possibly coral beads fell loosely around her neck.’
    2. 1.2 The pinkish-red color of red coral.
      • ‘A swipe of rosy lip-gloss and coral colored cheeks completed their Cheerleader Barbie look.’
      • ‘The key colours are bright coral, various shades of purple, peach and green.’
      • ‘Nem had stopped to pull something out of the water, but it proved difficult since the pearly pink and coral white object was buried halfway in the moist sand.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Would you choose black, or red, which may imply a tendency towards being daring, dangerous, erotic, or would you choose something more subdued or fun like sky blue or coral?’
      • ‘Grey is out in favour of coral, mint green, lilac and navy and white.’
      • ‘Barber suggests a coloured lip balm, in coral or fuchsia, waterproof mascara, fun coloured pencils and a tint with SPF.’
      • ‘I absolutely forbid you to wear your coral stilettos with your beige suit!’
      • ‘On its chest is an explosion of scarlet, an unforgettable hue deeper than coral but brighter than ruby.’
      • ‘Flower color combines red, coral and white; height is 6 inches to nearly 3 feet.’
      • ‘The camellia family displays pinks in all their many shades, from coral to dark cerise.’
      • ‘It comes in a rainbow of glowing colors: sunny yellow, sassy orange, vivid red, flaming coral, hot pink, and deep fuchsia.’
      • ‘Cyclamen flower petals range in colors from pink to white, coral, red, purple, and also a wide array of bicolors.’
      • ‘Her dress was sky blue and coral colored that was bell shaped at the bottom.’
      • ‘An African woman's beautiful beaded corset in coral, blues, and white was worn while she stood all day with a pitcher of water on her head as a sign she was ready to endure the rigours of married life.’
      • ‘Lotus, a small Lotus-Fairy with short white hair and coral pink skin sprinkled with golden pollen.’
      • ‘Other striking varieties feature apricot, scarlet, or coral blossoms framed with lacy white or creamy edges.’
      • ‘Depending on the variety, the flowers are shell-pink or deep coral.’
      • ‘Once shed, the falling leaves reveal bright coral red tints to all the younger stems.’
      • ‘No, strong colours such as turquoise or deep coral (another obvious summer choice) often work better as accessories.’
      scarlet, vermilion, ruby, ruby-red, ruby-coloured, cherry, cherry-red, cerise, cardinal, carmine, wine, wine-red, wine-coloured, claret, claret-red, claret-coloured, blood-red
      View synonyms
  • 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), and the horny corals (order Gorgonacea)

    • ‘Gorgonian corals stood out like crash barriers for the plankton and detritus that course over the hulk.’
    • ‘Sponges and corals grew on rises in this sea, forming reefs that divided up parts of this sea into isolated lagoons.’
    • ‘At 30m and slightly deeper, a forest of gorgonians and black corals clings to the slope.’
    • ‘Like wide fans they sit on the branches of white and pink gorgonian corals.’
    • ‘Jostling for room, sea anemones, corals and sponges vividly span the floor of an ocean forest.’
    • ‘When it comes to invertebrates and molluscs, corals and sponges, the success rate falls considerably.’
    • ‘Elephant ear coral, fan corals and huge barrel sponges all made a fairytale seascape.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Giant gorgonian fans, enormous corals and exaggerated sponges decorated the wall.’
    • ‘As he worked on his catalog he dreamed of traveling the world to see living corals on tropical reefs.’
    • ‘The latter case presumably would be the more usual diagenetic history of fossil corals.’
    • ‘Starfish, sea-urchins, clams and corals lie just yards from the shore.’
    • ‘Like the corals and sponges, many of these fish are long-lived and slow to mature.’
    • ‘Flowers, corals, and even animal skin contain pigments which give them their colors.’
    • ‘Since the beginning of the Cenozoic, reefs have become dominated by scleractinian corals and calcareous algae.’
    • ‘And organisms such as corals and sea anemones, which simply stay still and grow, have no need of eyes.’
    • ‘Above is a diagram of the septal arrangement in two types of corals.’
    • ‘The other three corals tested produced mucus with a mixture of these types of molecules.’
    • ‘There's sea water where you could explore starfish and various other corals.’
  • 3The unfertilized roe of a lobster or scallop, which is used as food and becomes reddish when cooked.

    • ‘Separating the boys from the girls, females, called ‘hens’, are often preferred for their roe or coral.’
    • ‘If it doesn't, remove by hand, then rub off any yellow coral that clings to the meat.’
    • ‘Remove the orange beak of coral from each scallop.’
    • ‘Scrape out any brown meat from the head, along with the pink coral, and add that to the white meat from the claws and tail.’
    • ‘Using a very sharp knife remove the coral from scallops (the orange part) without damaging.’
    • ‘Once cooked, the roe turns bright orange-red, at which point the roe is referred to as coral and used as a garnish.’
    • ‘The coral can now also be separated from the ‘meat’.’
    • ‘These are the vivid orange coral inside the shell.’
    • ‘In a food processor, mix the lobster coral with three ounces of butter until well combined and reserve.’


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