noun, plural zoos.

  1. Also called zoological garden. a parklike area in which live animals are kept in cages or large enclosures for public exhibition.
  2. Informal. a place, activity, or group marked by chaos or unrestrained behavior.

  1. a combining form meaning “living being,” “animal,” used in the formation of compound words: zoometry; zooplankton.

noun plural zoos

  1. a place where live animals are kept, studied, bred, and exhibited to the publicFormal term: zoological garden

combining form

  1. indicating animalszooplankton

c.1847, short for Zoological Gardens of the London Zoological Society, established 1828 in Regent’s Park to house the society’s collection of wild animals. From comb. form of Greek zoion “an animal,” literally “a living being,” from PIE root *gwei- “to live, life” (cf. Greek bios “life,” Old English cwicu “living;” see bio-). Slang meaning “crowded and chaotic place” first recorded 1935.


  1. Animal; animal kingdom:zoonosis.

see it’s a zoo.

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