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coral reef

a reef composed mainly of coral and other organic matter of which parts have solidified into limestone.
Origin of coral reef
1735-45 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for coral-reef
Historical Examples
  • I fail to see the necessity of (and, accordingly, I resent bitterly) all these coral-reef methods.

    Anticipations Herbert George Wells
  • Our souls are islands, with a coral-reef of reserve built up about them.

    The Prairie Child Arthur Stringer
  • But you said that the coal was made from plants and trees, and did plants and trees grow on this coral-reef?

    Madam How and Lady Why Charles Kingsley
  • Yet this glorious young hero was drowned—wrecked off a coral-reef, and flung like a weed on the waters.

  • No coral-reef breaks its ceaselessly-thundering rollers into surf, no palms wave their dark fronds in the blue.

    The Tower of Oblivion Oliver Onions
  • It is not unfrequent that fossil remains of human bones and of animals are found embedded in the coral-reef limestone of Florida.

    Nature and Culture Harvey Rice
  • So I determined, if I could get a chance, to go down after some of those things on the coral-reef.

    A Jolly Fellowship Frank R. Stockton
  • They remained apart from other species and appeared to prefer rocky beaches and coral-reef rocks to the sandy beaches.

  • You have a beautiful madrepore or brain-stone on your mantel-piece, brought home from some Pacific coral-reef.

    Glaucus Charles Kingsley
  • Now, what I wanted to do, was to go to the coral-reef and dive down and get something for myself.

    A Jolly Fellowship Frank R. Stockton
British Dictionary definitions for coral-reef

coral reef

a marine ridge or reef consisting of coral and other organic material consolidated into limestone
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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coral-reef in Science
coral reef  
A mound or ridge of living coral, coral skeletons, and calcium carbonate deposits from other organisms such as calcareous algae, mollusks, and protozoans. Most coral reefs form in warm, shallow sea waters and rise to or near the surface, generally in the form of a barrier reef, fringing reef, or atoll. Coral reefs grow upward from the sea floor as the polyps of new corals cement themselves to the skeletons of those below and in turn provide support for algae and other organisms whose secretions serve to bind the skeletons together. The resulting structure provides a critical habitat for a wide variety of fish and marine invertebrates. Coral reefs also protect shores against erosion by causing large waves to break and lose some of their force before reaching land. The Great Barrier Reef off the northeastern coast of Australia extends for some 2,000 km (1,240 mi), making it the world's largest coral reef.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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coral-reef in Culture

coral reef definition

A formation, at or near the surface of tropical waters, formed by skeletal deposits of corals, a form of sea life.

Note: Coral reefs form a protective environment for a wide variety of marine animals.
Note: Atolls — ring-shaped islands that nearly or entirely enclose a lagoon — are coral reefs.
Note: The largest coral reef is the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.
Note: Coral reefs are very sensitive to chemical pollution and changes in temperature and are considered to be in danger from environmental stress.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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