One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A colonial coral of an order distinguished by having a horny treelike skeleton, including the sea fans and precious red coral.
Order Gorgonacea, class Anthozoa
- ‘I descended a little way off the reef and saw a dazzling concentration of corals, every millimetre covered in table, brain, encrusting and staghorn corals and draped in whip corals and gorgonians.’
- ‘So I used the last dive of the day to shoot several reef scenes of crinoids sitting among soft corals and gorgonians, and a pair of yellow ghost pipefish.’
- ‘Scrubby bushes of black coral and huge gorgonians reach out towards the sky.’
- ‘There are many small creatures to photograph among the soft corals, gorgonians, hard corals and sponges.’
- ‘Soft corals and gorgonians reach out from the overhanging sides, while shoals of fish swirl in the shade.’
Relating to gorgons or gorgonians.
- ‘On the north west slope of Chevalier Rock is an enormous field of gorgonian seafans in varying shades of orange, all regimentally standing in rows perpendicular to the wall.’
- ‘This dive is better in the deeper section, where large gorgonian seafans stretch out into the current, surrounded by large numbers of fish, corals, invertebrates, and some huge barrel sponges.’
- ‘Several ‘fingers' of rock, each densely covered in gorgonian fans, projected out into the blue.’
- ‘The coral and sponge growth was again lush, but with far healthier gorgonian colonies away from the sometimes violent swells of Diamond Rock.’
- ‘Giant gorgonian fans, enormous corals and exaggerated sponges decorated the wall.’
Mid 19th century: from modern Latin Gorgonia, from Latin Gorgo (see Gorgon), with reference to its petrifaction, + -an.
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