- Reef is defined as a ridge of coral, alga, sand or rock close to the surface of the water in the ocean.
An example of a reef is the Great Barrier Reef which was formed when the sea levels rose, flooding the continental shelf of Australia, allowing the coral that were growing on the edges of the shelf to grow and begin form the reef.
- The definition of a reef is part of a boat's sail that can be rolled and tied to cut down on wind resistance.
An example of a reef is the rolled up part of a sail during a storm at sea.
A beautiful coral reef.
- a line or ridge of rock, coral, or sand lying at or near the surface of the water
- Mining a bed or vein of ore; lode
Origin of reefprobably via Dutch or Middle Low German rif ; from Old Norse literally , rib
Origin of reefMiddle English riff ; from or akin to Old Norse rif (; from Indo-European an unverified form reip-, a strip ; from base an unverified form rei-, to tear, cut from source rive): origin, originally used of cords for reefing
- to reduce the size of (a sail) by taking in part of it
- to lower (a spar or mast) or reduce the projection of (a bowsprit)
- A strip or ridge of rocks, sand, or coral that rises to or near the surface of a body of water.
- A vein of ore.
Origin of reefObsolete Dutch rif, possibly from Old Norse, ridge.
transitive verbreefed, reef·ing, reefs
- To reduce the size of (a sail) by tucking in a part and tying it to or rolling it around a yard.
- To shorten (a topmast or bowsprit) by taking part of it in.
Origin of reefMiddle English riff, from Old Norse rif, ridge, reef.
From Middle English ref, hreof, from Old English hrēof (“rough, scabby, leprous", also "a leper”), from Proto-Germanic *hreubaz (“rough, scabby, scrubby”), from Proto-Indo-European *kreup- (“scab, crust”), related to Old English hrēofla (“leprosy, leper”). Cognate with Scots reif (“a skin disease leaving crusts on the skin, the scab”), Old High German riob (“leprous, scabby, mangy”), Icelandic hrjúfur (“scabby, rough”). Compare riffe, dandruff.
(third-person singular simple present reefs, present participle reefing, simple past and past participle reefed)
- (nautical) To take in part of a sail in order to adapt the size of the sail to the force of the wind.
- (Australia) To pull or yank strongly.
From earlier riff, from Middle English rif, from Old Norse rif (“rib, reef”), from Proto-Germanic *ribją (“rib, reef”), from Proto-Indo-European *rebh- (“arch, ceiling, cover”). Cognate with Dutch rif (“reef”), Low German riff, reff (“reef”), German Riff (“reef, ledge”), Old English ribb (“rib”). More at rib.