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[nek-ton, -tuh n] /ˈnɛk tɒn, -tən/
the aggregate of actively swimming aquatic organisms in a body of water, able to move independently of water currents.
Origin of nekton
1890-95; < German, noun use of neuter of nēktós swimming (verbid of nḗchein to swim; see nectopod)
Related forms
nektonic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for nektonic


the population of free-swimming animals that inhabits the middle depths of a sea or lake Compare plankton
Derived Forms
nektonic, adjective
Word Origin
C19: via German from Greek nēkton a swimming thing, from nēkhein to swim
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for nektonic


1893, from German nekton (van Heusen, 1890), from Greek nekton, neuter of nektos "swimming," from nekhein "to swim" (see natatorium).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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nektonic in Science
  (něk'tən, -tŏn')   
The collection of marine and freshwater organisms that can swim freely and are generally independent of currents, ranging in size from microscopic organisms to whales. Compare benthos, plankton.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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