Coral or Corral?

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Difference between "Coral" and "Corral"?

"Coral" and "corral" are easy to confuse because their spellings are so similar and they sound quite similar (i.e., they are nearly homonyms).
  • "Coral" is a hard stony substance secreted by certain marine polyps. For example:
    • Ice ages have come and gone, but coral reefs have persisted. (Marine biologist Sylvia Earle)
  • "Corral" is an enclosure for livestock. As a verb, "to corral" is "to round up" or "to put livestock in a corral." For example:
    • They are building a corral for the bison.
    • (Here, "corral" is a noun.)
    • Corral the bison before the rain starts.
    • (In this example, "corral" is a verb.)
    • I like to sit on my porch and corral my thoughts.
    • (As a verb, "corral" is often used figuratively.)
coral or corral?

More about "Coral" and "Corral"

The words "coral" and "corral" look and sound similar, but their meanings are very different. With the stress on the first syllable, "coral" rhymes with "laurel" (as in "laurel wreath"). With the stress on the second syllable, "corral" rhymes with "morale" (as in "the soldiers' morale.")


Coral is a noun. It refers to the colorful rock-like reefs found on sea beds.

Formal definition for coral: "A hard stony substance secreted by certain marine polyps as an external skeleton, typically forming large reefs in warm seas."


As a noun, "corral" refers to an enclosure for livestock. As a verb, it means "to round up" or "to put livestock in a corral."

Formal definition for corral: "A pen or enclosure for confining or capturing livestock."

As a verb, "corral" is often used figuratively. For example:
  • We're tasked with making decisions under uncertainty. How do you corral that uncertainty in a way to make more consistently better decisions? (Sportsman Paul DePodesta)
A corral can also refer to an enclosure made with wagons for defending an encampment.

Corral: "A defensive enclosure"

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See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? moral and morale practice or practise? principal or principle? cannot or can not? who's or whose? How to improve your English spelling List of easily confused words

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