Definition of ocean noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈəʊʃn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈoʊʃn//
    Coastlines and the sea
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  1. 1  (also the ocean) [singular] (especially North American English) the mass of salt water that covers most of the earth’s surface the depths of the ocean People were swimming in the ocean despite the hurricane warning. The plane hit the ocean several miles offshore. Our beach house is just a couple of miles from the ocean. an ocean liner Ocean levels are rising. See related entries: Coastlines and the sea
  2. 2  (also Ocean) [countable] one of the five large areas that the ocean is divided into the Antarctic/Arctic/Atlantic/Indian/Pacific Ocean British/​Americansea / ocean In British English, the usual word for the mass of salt water that covers most of the earth’s surface is the sea. In North American English, the usual word is the ocean:A swimmer drowned in the sea/​ocean this morning. The names of particular areas of seas, however, are fixed:the Mediterranean Sea the Atlantic Ocean. Sea/​ocean are also used if you go to the coast on holiday/​vacation:We’re spending a week by the sea/​at the ocean in June. In North American English it is also common to say:We’re going to the beach for vacation.
  3. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French occean, via Latin from Greek ōkeanos ‘great stream encircling the earth's disc’. “The ocean” originally referred to the whole body of water thought to encompass the earth's single land mass.Extra examples Before him lay the vast, endless ocean. Various toxic substances have been dumped in the ocean. a beach house overlooking the ocean a life on the ocean wave a vessel which can explore the depths of the great oceans exploring the depths of the three great oceans great ships that sailed the oceans of the world penguins of the southern oceans the darkness of the ocean depths trade across the Atlantic Ocean Our beach house is just a few miles from the ocean. The ship was dredged from the depths of the ocean. the Antarctic/​Arctic/​Atlantic/​Indian/​Pacific Ocean the Pacific OceanIdioms
    boil the ocean (informal, business)
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    to attempt to do something very difficult or impossible Don't try to boil the ocean by supporting every device imaginable.
    a drop in the ocean (British English) (North American English a drop in the bucket)
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    an amount of something that is too small or unimportant to make any real difference to a situation The amount of money raised was a drop in the ocean compared to what we needed.
    an ocean of something (also oceans of something)
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    (informal) a large amount of something
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: ocean