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ocean

[oh-shuh n] /ˈoʊ ʃən/
noun
1.
the vast body of salt water that covers almost three fourths of the earth's surface.
2.
any of the geographical divisions of this body, commonly given as the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, and Antarctic oceans.
3.
a vast expanse or quantity:
an ocean of grass.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English ocean(e) (< Old French) < Latin ōceanus, special use of Ōceanus Oceanus < Greek ōkeanós, Ōkeanós
Related forms
oceanlike, adjective
interocean, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for ocean
  • It recovered six barrels of crude oil and left the water clean enough to return to the ocean.
  • Creating gigantic algal blooms risks using up all the oxygen in large parts of the ocean, killing anything else that lives there.
  • National governments, by and large, kept a much firmer hand on lorry and railroad tariffs than on charges for ocean freight.
  • His limp floating body is as blue and dark as the ocean.
  • She stretched, felt afloat in an ocean of blue light rippling around her body, and relaxed.
  • The mangrove forest provides a barrier, so that none of the polluted water from the fish farm returns to the ocean.
  • Each year, huge amounts of water are evaporated from the ocean.
  • Officials were checking whether any water had reached the ocean.
  • The ocean is blue because water absorbs colors in the red part of the light spectrum.
  • Maps can be extremely valuable in helping ocean scientists answer their research questions.
British Dictionary definitions for ocean

ocean

/ˈəʊʃən/
noun
1.
a very large stretch of sea, esp one of the five oceans of the world, the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, and Antarctic
2.
the body of salt water covering approximately 70 per cent of the earth's surface
3.
a huge quantity or expanse: an ocean of replies
4.
(literary) the sea
Word Origin
C13: via Old French from Latin ōceanus, from Greek ōkeanosOceanus
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ocean
n.

late 13c., from Old French occean "ocean" (12c., Modern French océan), from Latin oceanus, from Greek okeanos, the great river or sea surrounding the disk of the Earth (as opposed to the Mediterranean), of unknown origin. Personified as Oceanus, son of Uranus and Gaia and husband of Tethys. In early times, when the only known land masses were Eurasia and Africa, the ocean was an endless river that flowed around them. Until c.1650, commonly ocean sea, translating Latin mare oceanum. Application to individual bodies of water began 14c.; there are usually reckoned to be five of them, but this is arbitrary; also occasionally applied to smaller subdivisions, e.g. German Ocean "North Sea."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ocean in Science
ocean
  (ō'shən)   
  1. The continuous body of salt water that covers 72 percent of the Earth's surface. The average salinity of ocean water is approximately three percent. The deepest known area of the ocean, at 11,034 m (36,192 ft) is the Mariana Trench, located in the western Pacific Ocean.

  2. Any of the principal divisions of this body of water, including the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic Oceans.


Our Living Language  : The word ocean refers to one of the Earth's four distinct, large areas of salt water, the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Arctic Oceans. The word can also mean the entire network of water that covers almost three quarters of our planet. It comes from the Greek Okeanos, a river believed to circle the globe. The word sea can also mean the vast ocean covering most of the world. But it more commonly refers to large landlocked or almost landlocked salty waters smaller than the great oceans, such as the Mediterranean Sea or the Bering Sea. Sailors have long referred to all the world's waters as the seven seas. Although the origin of this phrase is not known for certain, many people believe it referred to the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Black Sea, the Adriatic Sea, the Caspian Sea, and the Indian Ocean, which were the waters of primary interest to Europeans before Columbus.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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