Definition of littoral in English:



  • 1Relating to or situated on the shore of the sea or a lake.

    ‘the littoral states of the Indian Ocean’
    • ‘The Atlantic would become a dead sea strategically, its littoral states and their continents declining to marginal status.’
    • ‘Moscow and Tehran recently avoided a potentially damaging row over the legal status of the Caspian Sea and sharing its energy resources by putting off the summit of the littoral states.’
    • ‘However, the measurable distance from the sea bed to the sea surface is limited to around 50 meters, so the sensors cannot function in the open ocean, only in littoral areas.’
    • ‘Three of the five Caspian littoral countries (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan) are landlocked.’
    • ‘Efforts already under way to improve operational effectiveness in littoral waters against a continental power armed with modern missiles and asymmetric capabilities and tactics must be continued.’
    1. 1.1Ecology Relating to or denoting the zone of the seashore between high- and low-water marks, or the zone near a lake shore with rooted vegetation.
      ‘limpets and other littoral mollusks’
      • ‘Similarly, redundancy analysis showed that minimum winter or spring temperature significantly influenced the relative abundance of littoral taxa in seven lakes.’
      • ‘Third, germination of papyrus from seed may have been hampered by residual saline porewater in littoral soils.’
      • ‘Many wetlands around the world are characterized by shallow water, dense vegetation in the littoral zones, no significant riverine inflow and minimal circulation.’
      • ‘The littoral sediments of the experimental lakes are primarily flocculent organic material including abundant epipelon.’
      • ‘The small plot of littoral rainforest remnant is under pressure from weed, drainage and erosion and needs restoration.’
      coastal, seaside, littoral
      View synonyms


  • 1A region lying along a shore.

    ‘irrigated regions of the Mediterranean littoral’
    • ‘Massalia and its dependent territory enjoyed a privileged status within the province as an independent republic allied to Rome with territories extending along the Mediterranean littoral.’
    • ‘One concept - Objective Maneuver from the Sea - was developed in response to future threats along the littorals, which are characterized by large cities, well-populated areas, and the intersection of trade routes.’
    • ‘Yet the countries along its littoral have no means of providing security to themselves.’
    • ‘They exported the wines of Lebanon (and the wine-making practices of Canaan) along the littorals of North Africa and to Spain, Sardinia, and Sicily.’
    • ‘In this initiative he reversed the whole purpose of Sweden's great mission to its people stranded along the Delaware littoral, which had been to preserve their national character in the midst of Pennsylvanian chaos.’
    seashore, seaside, beach, coast, coastal region, seaboard, sea coast, bank, lakeside, verge, edge, shoreline, waterside, front, shoreside, foreshore, sand, sands
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Ecology The littoral zone.
      • ‘In 1907, erosion increased, eating away the coastal littoral beneath Keta.’
      • ‘That was in the context, your Honour, of a sanitary survey or, if you want to call it another thing, a pollution audit, to get around and find the points of pollution around this particular littoral around the lake.’


Mid 17th century: from Latin littoralis, from litus, litor- shore.