[ zoh-on ]
/ ˈzoʊ ɒn /
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noun, plural zo·a [zoh-uh]. /ˈzoʊ ə/. Biology Rare.
any of the individuals of a compound organism.
any individual, or the individuals collectively, produced from a single egg.
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Origin of zoon

First recorded in 1860–65; from New Latin zōon, from Greek zôion “animal”


zo·on·al [zoh-uh-nl], /ˈzoʊ ə nl/, adjective

Other definitions for zoon (2 of 2)


a combining form meaning “animal,” “organism” of the kind specified by the initial element, often corresponding to zoological class names ending in -zoa, with -zoon used to name a single member of such a class: protozoon.

Origin of -zoon

see origin at zoon
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does -zoon mean?

The combining form -zoon is used like a suffix meaning “animal” or “organism.” It is occasionally used in scientific terms, particularly to refer to a single member of classes in zoology. In zoology, class has a specific meaning that refers to taxonomy.

The form -zoon comes from Greek zôion, meaning “animal.” The word zoo also ultimately comes from this Greek root. Zoo is shortened from zoological garden.

What are variants of -zoon?

While -zoon doesn’t have any variants, it is related to the form -zoa, which is the plural form of -zoon, as in Protozoa.

When combined as a prefix, -zoon becomes zoo- or zo-, as in zooplankton or zooid. Want to know more? Read our Words That Use articles for zoo-, zo-, and -zoa.

In some instances, -zoa is made singular by adding an -n to the end of the word, rather than using the combining form -zoon, as in sporozoan.

Examples of -zoon

An example of a scientific term that features the form -zoon is ectozoon, “any animal parasite, as the louse, that lives on the surface of its host.”

The combining form ecto- means “outside” or “external,” from Greek ektós. As we have seen, -zoon means “organism.” Ectozoon literally translates to “external organism.”

What are some words that use the combining form –zoon?

What are some other forms that –zoon may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

The combining form hemato- means “blood.” With this in mind, what does the scientific term hematozoon literally mean?

How to use zoon in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for zoon (1 of 2)

/ (ˈzəʊɒn) /

noun plural zoa (ˈzəʊə) or zoons
a less common term for zooid (def. 1)

Derived forms of zoon

zoonal, adjective

Word Origin for zoon

C19: from New Latin, from Greek zōion animal; related to Greek zōē life

British Dictionary definitions for zoon (2 of 2)


n combining form
indicating an individual animal or an independently moving entity derived from an animalspermatozoon

Word Origin for -zoon

from Greek zōion animal
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012