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Any of various colonial corals of the order Gorgonacea (or Alcyonacea), having a usually branched skeleton of horny material and polyps with eight tentacles, and including the sea fans, sea feathers, and red corals.

[From Latin gorgonia, coral, from Gorgō, Gorgon-, Gorgon; see Gorgon.]

gor·go′ni·an adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Animals) any coral of the order Gorgonacea, having a horny or calcareous branching skeleton: includes the sea fans and red corals
(Animals) of, relating to, or belonging to the Gorgonacea


(Classical Myth & Legend) of or resembling a Gorgon
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(gɔrˈgoʊ ni ən)

1. any colonial coral of the order Gorgonacea, as the sea fan, forming a branching axial skeleton.
2. belonging or pertaining to the Gorgonacea.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.gorgonian - corals having a horny or calcareous branching skeleton
coral - marine colonial polyp characterized by a calcareous skeleton; masses in a variety of shapes often forming reefs
sea feather - corals forming featherlike colonies
sea fan - corals having a treelike or fan-shaped horny skeleton
red coral - corals of especially the Mediterranean having pink or red color used for ornaments and jewelry
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
They ferry over this LETHEAN Sound Both to and fro, thir sorrow to augment, And wish and struggle, as they pass, to reach The tempting stream, with one small drop to loose In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe, All in one moment, and so neer the brink; But fate withstands, and to oppose th' attempt MEDUSA with GORGONIAN terror guards The Ford, and of it self the water flies All taste of living wight, as once it fled The lip of TANTALUS.
Even at these depths there is plenty to see, including black corals and more giant gorgonians.
The biology and functional morphology of Pteria brevialata (Bivalvia: Pterioidea), epizoic on gorgonians in Hong Kong.
Skeletons from deceased gorgonians are often the tallest remaining structures after sediment deposition and reef burial; these parazoanthids colonize nearly all of them.
Ophiothela mirabilis attaches to octocorals, rolling their arms around the gorgonians with the aid of hooked spines (Granja-Fernandez et al., 2014).
The wonders are plentiful: Ethereal angelfish float through the brittle fingers of scarlet gorgonians, upstaging a shoal of sour-faced trevallies who sulk into the abyss.
Divers can find a wide variety of hard and soft corals, huge gorgonians, sponges and an endless variety of reef life.
The dive masters pointed out some of the unique creatures found in Raja Ampat, such as specimens of nudibranch and the tiny (less than one-centimetre) pygmy seahorse, which is adept at camouflaging itself on gorgonians.
These bivalves have been reported specifically as epizoans on mangrove roots, gorgonians, corals (Slack-Smith, 1998), decapod crustaceans (Fernandez-Leborans, 2010) and other mollusks (Cope, 1968; Eschweile & Buschbaum, 2011; Zell, Beckmann, & Stinnesbeck, 2014).
It is largely white with a bold red grid-like pattern that renders it almost invisible amongst the grid-like branches of the gorgonians it hangs out amongst.
The majority of these taxa (85) are primnoids, gorgonians, stony corals, and octocorals, all of which provide vertical relief over the trawlable habitats we sampled, and a few are among the tallest biogenic structures that occur in the Aleutian Islands (e.g., Primnoa willeyi can reach 3 m in height).